By: WCTV Eyewitness News
January 4, 2018
Photo: Gulf World Marine Institute
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WCTV) -- Wildlife rehab groups are working to help dozens of sea turtles who've been stunned by cold waters along Florida's gulf coast.
More than 100 of the animals are now in rehabilitation at Gulf World Marine Institute in Panama City Beach. The institute is working with Florida Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Geological Survey and other groups to rescue the turtles.
Rescue groups are currently searching in St. Joe Bay and surrounding areas.
Scientists say when the water gets below 50 degrees in shallow bays and estuaries, the turtles can become shocked by the frigid temperatures. Stunned turtles may float listlessly in the water on or near shore.
The director of the marine institute says he expects 300 turtles to be rescued during this cold snap.
The animals are being examined by veterinary staff and placed in warmer water. Most will be tagged and released as early as next week in the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico.