Hope the sea turtle recovering at Gulf Specimen Marine Lab after being beached by red tide

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 6:22 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A sea turtle is capturing the hearts of a local rescue group and the whole Big Bend.

Hope the sea turtle was found struggling to survive due to red tide. But thanks to attentive care, Hope is back to flapping her flippers at the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab.

On Wednesday October 20th, Hope the sea turtle was brought to the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab and couldn’t move her flippers due to red tide. Cypress Rudloe, Executive Director of the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab, hoisted Hope up in Franklin County after she was found beached on St. George Island.

“As we picked her up, she went completely limp. so, she had no movement in her flippers, she couldn’t keep her head up. however, she was steadily taking a breath.” Rudloe recalled.

Turtles are especially susceptible to red tide as they both absorb the toxin through their skin and eat infected fish.

“The neurotoxin, basically from the red tide will attack their nervous system and they won’t be able to use their flippers, which is very fixable depending on the amount of exposure they’ve had,” Rudloe explained.

Now, after a week of rehabilitation at Gulf Specimen, Hope’s caretaker, Kylee Lindsey, is seeing improvement.

“We took her blood one time and she moved all four of her flippers and that was the first time she’d moved any of her flippers,” explained Lindsey.

Lindsey has faith that hope will soon be back in the Gulf.

“Yesterday I was trying to feed her and she was swatting me away. So, she has good sass that’s for sure. I have a good feeling about her,” Lindsey said.

Hope the sea turtle is now recovering nicely. She won’t be released back into the wild until the red tide issues off the Forgotten Coast have been cleared.

If you’d like to visit Hope you can head over the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab, off of Crawfordville Highway in Wakulla County.

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