How to help sea turtles beached by Hurricane Irene

Environmental IssuesNatureNatural ResourcesJuno BeachHurricane Irene (2011)Hobe Sound

Young sea turtles beached by Hurricane Irene may need some help.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the storm may have tossed them from the mats of seaweed that serve as their home when they first enter the ocean. The commission issued a news release Friday giving advice on what to do if you see one on shore that is obviously stranded:

-Put the turtle on a damp cloth in a small container, cover it and keep it in the shade, but not in air conditioning. Don’t put it into water. Don't crowd several turtles in one container.

-Although it is illegal to possess them without a permit, it is acceptable during the emergency to carry them directly to a local marine facility, including the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, the Loggerhead Marine Life Center in Juno Beach and the Miami Seaquarium.

-Help only turtles lying in the sand and not moving toward the water. Don't dig into sea turtle nests or remove hatchlings from the sand. Don’t go to the beach just to rescue sea turtles.

Here are facilities to which you can take young sea turtles:

Miami-Dade County

Miami Seaquarium, 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, 305-361-5705; www.miamiseaquarium.com; Lifeguard stands/stations on the beach

Palm Beach County

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, 1801 N. Ocean Blvd., Boca Raton, 561-338-1473; www.gumbolimbo.org

Loggerhead Marinelife Center, 14200 U.S. Highway 1, Juno Beach, 561-627-8280; www.marinelife.org

Martin County

Florida Oceanographic Society, 890 N.E. Ocean Blvd., Stuart, 772-225-0505; www.floridaocean.org

Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge & Hobe Sound Nature Center, 13640 S.E. Federal Highway, Hobe Sound, 772-546-2067, no drop-offs on Sunday (closed); http://hobesoundnaturecenter.com

Indian River/Brevard counties

Sea Turtle Preservation Society, Melbourne Beach, 321-676-1701; www.seaturtlespacecoast.org

Barrier Island Sanctuary, 8385 South A1A, Melbourne Beach, 321-723-3556; http://barrierislandcenter.com

Volusia County

Marine Science Center, 100 Lighthouse Drive Ponce Inlet, 386-304-5544; http://marinesciencecenter.com

For more information call the state wildlife hotline at 888-404-3922.

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