Tuesday, 28 May 2013

FWC rescues endangered leatherback sea turtle in Naples, Fla.

A boater located about three miles west of Caxambas Pass on Marco Island, called the FWC to report the turtle entangled in a crab trap line.

Once the crew reached the location where the turtle was stranded, officials were able to cut the trap line and the sea turtle was able to swim free.

The leatherback is the largest sea turtle in the world, measuring as much as 6.5 feet in length and weighing as much as 1190 pounds. They dive deeper than any other species of sea turtle, the deepest recorded dive being ¾ of a mile.

All seven species of sea turtles are either threatened or endangered. Destruction of their reef habitats, development, poaching of their eggs, and temperature change continue to cause accelerated decline of sea turtle populations worldwide. At sea, turtles risk being caught in the nets of commercial fishing boats and increased incidence of diseases in the wild.

Many members of the Rookery Bay staff are trained participants of the Marine Mammal Stranding network Southeast region who provides assistance to the FWC and the Florida Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI).

In response to a call for help, FWC calls staff from Rookery Bay to verify the location and nature of the injury. The staff often stays with the animal until help arrives and provides transportation to a rehabilitation center.

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