Grace Harvey, the island’s sea turtle permit holder, said she and her patrollers received the calls of deceased, or stranded, turtles within a four-day span.
One was just off-island, the rest were on our local beaches.
“We couldn’t find any connection between any of the strandings,” Harvey said. “It’s very strange, we haven’t seen anything like this since red tide was here.”
Harvey said her staff was grateful for help from a visiting family, pictured at right, to bury one of the turtles which weighed more than 200 pounds.
It is against the law to touch or disturb nesting sea turtles, hatchlings, or their nests. Sea turtles are protected by both the Federal Endangered Species Act and the Florida Marine Protection Act.
If you see an injured or dead sea turtle, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) or *FWC from your cell phone and they will reach the appropriate people on Gasparilla Island.