Tips on how to help marine life during the cold-weather season

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 5:56 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The cold weather can be a nuisance for us, but for marine life, it is much worse.

“In the case of these cold-stunned turtles, when it gets down to these low temperatures. They might just be floating. They might just be floating right at the surface. Because just like humans with hypothermia, their body functions are kind of minimized so they’re not using their moving those flippers much. They’re just trying to stay alive,” Lauren Albrittain, Gulf World Marine Institute Stranding Coordinator, said.

There are ways you can help if you notice turtles acting out of the ordinary.

“The biggest rule of thumb is that, for the most part, sea turtles should not be on the beach, period. So if you are ever encountering a small sea turtle on the beach somewhere. That’s not a good thing, so you definitely want to call somebody then,” Albrittain said.

Even if they’re in the water, the turtles could still be in distress.

“If you ever see a turtle that’s acting oddly in the water. Go ahead and call us we’d rather know than not know. That includes being unable to dive, swimming sideways if they appeared to be injured or entangled,” Albrittian said.

Albrittain wants to remind people to never interact with the beached animals and stay vigilant.

You can get help for the turtles, by dialing *#FWC for sea turtle and marine animal response or you can dial National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s hotline, 1-877-WHALE HELP.

Gulf World Marine Institute is just one of many non-profit organizations that handle the safety of marine life in our area.

For those interested in donating, visit their website.

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