COCOA BEACH, FL – Brevard Zoo released four green sea turtles off of Cocoa Beach on July 22 that were rehabilitated in their Sea Turtle Healing Center. The Zoo, recently voted one of USA Today’s 10 best zoos in North America, typically releases its patients alone or in pairs, but this group happened to be cleared for release by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at the same time. Two of the sea turtles, named King Kamehameha and Turtilla, were debilitated, which means they were emaciated and lethargic without presenting injuries. The other two were rescued from interaction with human debris; Samantha and Cookie were both entangled in fishing line, and Cookie had a hook embedded in their flipper. Samantha had old injuries from a fish hook as well.
Florida’s Space Coast is one of the top places for loggerhead sea turtle nesting in North America, representing 90% of eggs laid in the US. The main three sea turtle species that come to our beaches are the loggerhead, green, and leatherback. Nesting season began on May 1 and hatching season continues through the end of October. Brevard Zoo, in partnership with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society (STPS), opened its 2,400-square-foot Sea Turtle Healing Center in April 2014. The Healing Center is also one of just a few facilities designed to treat patients with the fibropapilloma virus (FP), which causes benign but cumbersome tumors to grow inside and outside the host’s body.
It is extra important to remember to remove all trash, knock down sand castles, and fill in holes before leaving the beach during sea turtle nesting season, which takes place from May to October. Please remember to not disturb nesting turtles, nests or hatchlings. Beachfront property should be kept dark at night to avoid disorienting hatchlings. If you find a sea turtle that needs assistance or an exposed nest, please call STPS at 321-206-0646 or visit STPS’s emergency information page.
The Brevard Zoo is a not-for-profit organization that relies primarily on admission to finance its rehabilitation efforts and other conservation programs. With low attendance levels due to the ongoing pandemic, the Zoo projects losing one third of its annual income. Community members can contribute to the Zoo at www.brevardzoo.org/support.
Florida’s Space Coast is home to Orlando’s closest beaches, 35 miles to the east, stretching 72 miles along the coastline, and is the East Coast surfing capital. Guests can discover the beauty of nature in more than 250 square miles of wildlife refuge, Brevard Zoo, and the
Indian River Lagoon. Launches are visible across the county from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the only location in America where astronauts launch into space. For more information about launches, visit SpaceCoastLaunches.com and download the Launch Console app. To learn more, contact the Space Coast Office of Tourism at (877) 572-3224 or VisitSpaceCoast.com. Find us on social media at Facebook.com/visitspacecoast, Twitter.com/flaspacecoast, Instagram.com/floridaspacecoast, and YouTube.com/c/visitspacecoast.