CLEARWATER, Fla. — Fifty-two disoriented baby sea turtles were treated this week at Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
The marine animal hospital's Sea Turtle Conservation team recovered the hatchlings Tuesday during a routine patrol. They found the tiny turtles confused and scattered across a pool, hot tub, storm drain and driveway.
The team brought them in for evaluation by veterinarian Dr. Shelly Marquardt.
One of them passed away. Another is being treated for an eye issue. However, the other 50 turtles were medically cleared and released off Indian Shores.
"Sea turtle disorientations occur when turtles follow artificial lights away from the ocean, which can often result in mortality," CMA wrote in a statement.
"We urge all coastal residents and travelers to turn off your lights during nesting and hatchling season, or to use wildlife sensitive lighting," the facility added. "Let’s all do our part to protect and restore this endangered species in the wild."
Video released by the aquarium showed crews doing medical exams on the little turtles, including measuring them, before gently releasing them at the beach. They could be seen crawling toward the Gulf of Mexico.
CMA focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation and release of injured marine animals – along with education. The facility noted that all marine turtle footage in Florida was obtained with proper approval from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission under conditions that were not harmful to the sea turtles.
"Footage was acquired while conducting authorized conservation activities pursuant to FWC MTP-22/23-013 and MTP-22/23-263," CMA noted online.