Thursday, November 23, 2017
  • All Eyes
  • Tampabay.com - Reporting with a camera

Clear water in the grass flats reveals a life visible under the ripples.

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A green sea turtle, named “Apple Jacks” by biologists from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium that just released the rehabilitated, glides through clear water in the grass flats under the ripples behind Honeymoon Island recently. The turtle, rescued in February, had suffered injuries consistent with a boat strike and also had fibropapilloma tumors. The aquarium has received 13 sea turtles with boat strike injuries this year. Many do not survive. “On the surface of the water they are going to be very difficult to see,” said aquarium biologist Rebecca Riley. “It’s really important to watch out for wildlife when you’re on the water,” says Riley. Riley suggests that boaters can greatly lessen the likelihood of hitting a turtle if every boat has a designated wildlife spotter in the front of the boat to point out turtles, manatees, dolphins, or other wildlife in the path of the boat that could be struck. If a boater was to accidentally hit one of these animals, they should immediately call the stranding line at the aquarium (727-441-1790, ext. 1) and follow the instructions provided by the operator. If the boater is not in the vicinity of the aquarium, they can call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Division of Law Enforcement at 1-888-404-FWCC.


 
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