March 7, 2012

Red Tide Turtles Released

A red tide bloom began at the end of November and lasted until approximately mid-January at the mouth of San Carlos Bay. Many species including birds, fish, and sea turtles were affected by the toxin produced by the red tide organism Karenia brevis. During this time frame, a total of 11 Kemp’s ridley turtles were found on and near Sanibel. Nine were dead and two were found alive and taken to rehabilitation facilities.
A newly released juvenile Kemp's ridley. Photo by: R. Flynn

The two live turtles from Sanibel and an additional Kemp’s ridley from Lover’s Key State Park were released into Pine Island Sound on February 27 after receiving a clean bill of health. The SCCF Marine Lab provided boat transportation. SCCF staff were accompanied by Rhonda Bailey of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Eve Haverfield of Turtle Time, Inc. A video of the release can be seen at