Over 40 tiny bundles of joy were released into the ocean following rehab at two southwest Florida aquariums
Over the past week, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium took over 40 sea turtle hatchlings offshore to be released following rehabilitation. Mote’s Hatchling Hospital successfully rehabilitated 33 hatchlings, many of which were recovered from pools after they became disoriented. Mote’s team made an additional offshore trip this week to release 10 additional hatchlings that recovered at Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s marine life hospital. These hatchlings suffered from a variety of impairments including disorientation and malnutrition.
Since sea turtle season began officially in May—although the first nest arrived in Sarasota in April—nearly 800 sea turtle hatchlings have been successfully rehabilitated at Mote’s Hatchling Hospital and over 150 at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. These hatchlings might be recovered during permitted nest excavations or perhaps found after a nest predation event. However, by far the most common reason that a hatchling finds itself in need of TLC is due to disorientation, which occurs when hatchlings emerge from the nest and travel towards artificial lighting instead of the water. Sea turtle hatchlings have a limited energy supply—they emerge from their egg with a yolk sac that nourishes them for a short period of time—and wasting energy going the wrong direction can be deadly.