Ponce Inlet, FL-Hurricane Matthew wiped out about 30 sea turtle nests on Volusia County beaches, but the Marine Science Center Turtle Hospital’s Melissa Ranly says it came at the tail end of a really good year for nests and she’s relieved about that. Ranly says a powerful hurricane hitting earlier in the season would have wiped out far more than Matthew did.
As of now, the turtle hospital is taking care of about 200 sea turtle washbacks. Those are baby turtles tossed back to shore when the seaweed line offshore where baby turtles feed is broken up by rough surf caused by storms. This active hurricane season has kept a steady stream of washbacks coming to the hospital for care until conditions are right to send them back to the sea.
Ranly estimates the hospital has cared for about 500 washbacks through this season. The Marine Science Center building came through Matthew ok, but Ranly says the bird hospital lost the big screened flight cages to storm damage. Ranly says all the animals had been evacuated prior to Matthew arriving here.
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