Stunned sea turtles to be released into Gulf

5:35 AM, Jan 14, 2014   |    comments
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(PNJ.com) - Dozens of endangered sea turtles will be released into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico today, just a week after they were recovered by the Florida Wildlife and Conservation Commission while suffering from cold stun.

About 50 turtles entered the hypothermic state of cold stun because of frigid temperatures earlier this month, according to a news release from the Gulf World Marine Institute.

Cold stun can cause sea turtles to become listless and weak.

Many of the sea turtles were taken to Gulf World Marine Institute in Panama City Beach, where their body temperatures were slowly warmed through rehabilitation programs. Now that warmer weather has arrived, the turtles will be weighed, measured and tagged, and then released in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Gulf World Marine Institute, with the help of Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and the University of Florida, will be releasing most of the sea turtles at Cape Palms Park on Cape San Blas at 10 a.m.

Among the released reptiles are six Kemp Ridley sea turtles.

Five green sea turtles, which comprise the rest of the animals, will be transported back to Perdido Key area of Gulf ­Islands National Seashore for release.

The exact location and time of their release is being kept ­secret for the sea turtles' safety, officials said.

Six sea turtles will remain in rehabilitation at Gulf World Marine Institute due to other medical illness and injuries. Those turtles will be retained for medical treatment until cleared for release.

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