All photos via Georgianne Nienaber's column at the Huffpo Green
Investigative journalist Georgianne Nienaber has been covering the devastating effect the exceptionally frigid waters in Florida are having on the marine life. According to her reports, innumerable fish have been washing up dead and at least 2,000 endangered sea turtles have been injured or killed by the unusually cold temperatures. Heartbreaking photos of the sick turtles and the rescue attempts after the jump . . .Ocean temperatures dropped below 50 degrees Fahrenheit last week, entering the range where tropical fish and animals have difficulty surviving. According to Florida Fish and Wildlife scientists, most can't endure temperatures between 45-50 degrees F.
Nienaber explains the phenomenon that's killing the turtles:
When the water gets too cold, the turtles suffer from a condition known as "cold-stunning." Warm water game fish are also taking a big hit. The fact that fish and turtles are cold-blooded animals means that their internal body temperature changes as the surrounding temperature changes.
Thankfully, a rescue effort is underway, as clinics have been keeping recovered cold-stunned turtles out of the frigid waters until temps drop back to normal in order to save them. The famous CROW clinic is currently rehabilitating "2 Kemps Ridley, 4 Green, and 1 Hawksbill turtles." Both the Kemps Ridley and the Green turtles are endangered--and 90% of the sea turtle casualties thus far have been green turtles.
The clinic has put out a call for anyone who sees sea turtles in distress to rescue them, and bring them in for recovery--and that's exactly what this man did. He saved this Green sea turtle he spotted floating lifelessly on the surface while kayaking.
For an in-depth report of the situation unfolding in Florida, read Nienaber's full piece over at the Huffington Post Green.
More on Sea Turtles and Florida
Iguana Showers and Frozen Sea Turtle Rescue in Frigid Florida
Endangered Sea Turtles Face Death by a Thousand Hooks