Sea Turtles

Sea Turtles have been around for the past 110 million years, but the past several hundred have brought unprecedented challenges. Here are a few things today’s turtles face that their ancient ancestors never had to worry about.

  • Boat Injuries
  • Artificial lights
  • Commercial and recreational fishing gear
  • Urbanization of nesting habitats
  • Pollution

No matter the ailment, we dedicate ourselves to making the world a safer place for turtles.

Our Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Program has saved thousands of turtles, thanks to cutting edge veterinary talent and technology. Running a turtle ER is no easy feat, but we prepare ourselves for any scenario. Here are a few common procedures our patients undergo.

  • Flipper repair/amputation
  • Hook Removal
  • FP Tumor Removal
  • Antibiotic/Medication Series
  • Fishing Line Entanglement

Healing sick and injured turtles is only one part of our mission. Every patient is an opportunity to learn, and we regularly facilitate studies that broaden our biological understanding of these gentle creatures. Here are a few examples of past and current research initiatives we’ve championed:

  • Fibropapillomatosis and the Sea Turtle Lymphatic System
    A joint effort among Florida Atlantic University, Nova Southeastern University, and Gumbo Limbo’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility, with participation of the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston. This study aims to characterize the sea turtle lymphatic system and investigate any potential relation to the fibropapillomatosis disease common in sea turtles.
  • Effect of UV Light on FP Tumor Recovery in Sea Turtles
    This is a joint study between Florida Atlantic University and Gumbo Limbo’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility examining the effects of UV light on vitamin D levels and immune system function in green sea turtles with Fibropapillomatosis. This research is being conducted as part of a student’s Master’s thesis.
  • Acoustic Tracking of Juvenile Green Sea Turtles
    A collaborative study between Gumbo Limbo’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility and Inwater Research Group (IRG) to investigate the movements of local juvenile green sea turtles, particularly in relation to recreational fishing piers where a number of sea turtles are found with hook and line related injuries.
  • Satellite Tracking of Rehabilitated Sea Turtles
    Since 2014, Gumbo Limbo’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility has satellite tracked select rehabilitated sea turtles each year to learn more about their post-rehabilitation behaviour. Initial results demonstrate that rehabilitated turtles follow similar behaviors as wild sea turtles. Satellite tracking of sea turtles treated at Gumbo Limbo will ultimately contribute to a broader collaborative study investigating these trends.

Once a turtle is back in shape for the open ocean, it is vital that their release is handled with care and intention. While an individual turtle’s range can extend thousands of miles, mother turtles tend to nest in the exact same place they were born. Because of this, we ensure all turtles are released near where they were recovered. It’s up to us to give these rescued turtles every chance at success back in the wild. Here are a few highlights of the successful releases we’ve accomplished over the years:

Since 2015

  • 255 Green Sea Turtles
  • 65 Loggerhead Sea Turtles
  • 20 Kemps Ridley Sea Turtles
  • 15 Hawksbill Sea Turtles
  • 20+ Cold Snapped Turtles (during December 2020 emergency)

If you find a dead, sick, or injured sea turtle, please call FWC’s 24-hour Wildlife Alert Number, or Gumbo Limbo’s Turtle Rescue Hotline:

FWC: 1-888-404-3922

Gumbo Limbo: 561-212-8697

Please be prepared to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the exact location of the animal?
  2. Is the turtle alive or dead?
    What is the approximate size of the turtle?
  3. Is the turtle marked with spray paint? (This may indicate that the turtle has been previously documented.)
  4. What is the location of the closest access point to the turtle?

No matter the ailment,
we dedicate ourselves
to making the world a safer place for turtles.

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