According to the Fort Myers News-Press, scores of sea turtles have been collected in Lee and Collier counties over the past week. Hundreds of others may have also died from “this particularly strong red tide event.”
“We took in four new sea turtles yesterday,” Heather Barron, director of the veterinarian hospital at the Center for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife on Sanibel, told the newspaper. “Two very large adult male loggerheads and each were over 200 pounds and both were very consistent with red tide poisoning. We also took in a Kemp’s ridley juvenile and it was showing signs of red tide poisoning, and we also took in a juvenile loggerhead.”
Other animals that are being affected include pelicans, double-crested cormorants and mallard and mottled ducks. Experts say the wildlife found dead on the beaches or on the surface of the ocean is only a fraction of the actual toll from the red tide. Most of the dead animals sink to the bottom of the ocean.