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Gumbo Limbo in Boca Raton to Be Site of Sea Turtle Hospital --


Animals  (tags: sea turtles, rehabilitation, sealife, rescued, Florida, protection )

Raffi
- 1752 days ago - sun-sentinel.com
For the last 25 years, the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center has been a tourist attraction and a place where students study marine life. Now, this coastal and marine preserve on North Ocean Boulevard soon could take the additional role of a haven for sick



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Raffi LidoRoiz (312)
Monday September 21, 2009, 11:39 am
Gumbo Limbo to be site of sea turtle hospital
By C. Ron Allen South Florida Sun Sentinel

For the last 25 years, the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center has been a tourist attraction and a place where students study marine life.

Now, this coastal and marine preserve on North Ocean Boulevard soon could take the additional role of a haven for sick and injured sea turtles.

The state's Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission recently gave the center a preliminary nod for a license to operate a rehabilitation center.

"It's actually a pretty big deal," said Mike Zewe, the center's development officer. "There aren't many turtle rehabilitation facilities in the state and there's more than 1,500 turtles that ended up stranded on the beach a year in Florida."

As part of Gumbo Limbo's silver anniversary, a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for Nov. 15. Although the seven or eight tanks will be installed and the systems will be ready to go, officials must get a final review by the state before admitting their first turtle patient.

The center will be able to house up seven or eight injured creatures, Zewe said.

"It's just a matter of ... the FWC coming out to inspect the facility and make sure that we've satisfied all the requirements before they grant the permit," he said. "We've been working closely with them to make sure we're doing it right from the beginning."

The center paid for the $50,000 project though fundraising.

Once operational, the unit should practically eliminate the need for routine and emergency trips to The Turtle Hospital in Marathon or the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach.

That's "very important considering all [the species of sea turtles] except one are endangered," said Pat Thomson, education coordinator at The Turtle Hospital.

Zewe said the staff -- a veterinarian, a veterinarian technician plus five marine turtle specialists -- will eventually do physical examinations almost identical to those given to people at a hospital. They will stabilize the sea creatures, take blood samples, treat wounds, and when necessary, take X-rays and CAT scans, he said.

"This is the start of the program so we won't have all that equipment here," Zewe said. "We will be able to treat some of the minor injuries … but we won't be able do surgeries."

The biggest threats to marine turtles are all associated with human activities including boat strikes, entanglement in fishing gear and eating synthetic material such as plastics.

The impact of these threats on turtles has increased over the last few years, creating a need for additional qualified rehabilitation facilities, Zewe said.

"The FWC will also request that turtles in other facilities that [have had] surgery and just need a place to recover, they could move [them] here so they can take on a more serious case," he said.
 

Audra R. (31)
Monday September 21, 2009, 3:46 pm
I have visited this nature center! They need to help and protect the turtles!
 

. (0)
Monday September 21, 2009, 3:57 pm
Our sea turtles need all the help the can get. A friend and I watch turtles lay eggs on Hollywood Beach. (We're early risers.) One of us will guard the nest from the morning tractors who plow all the garbage under and the other one will get help so the eggs can be put in a safe place up at the north end of the beach.
 

Joycey B. (750)
Tuesday September 22, 2009, 3:44 am
Thanks Raffi.
 

. (0)
Sunday April 7, 2013, 2:47 am
thank you for posting this
 
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