BRADENTON BEACH (FOX 13) - An "eagle-eyed" little boy spotted three loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings trapped in a storm drain Monday, setting off a full-scale rescue effort.
The efforts of several heroes were documented on the Wildlife, Inc. Education & Rehabilitation Center's Facebook page. It started when the young man alerted workers to the turtles, which were only a block away from Wildlife, Inc.'s center.
Two employees and two FWC officers pulled the grate from the drain and scooped the turtles out.
According to Wildlife Inc., a Bright House Networks employee working across the street then found a fourth turtle.
After searching for another hour and a half, Wildlife, Inc. employees said they didn't find anymore lost loggerheads. In the Facebook post, they credited the budding conservationist for helping rescue the turtles.
"That young boy is a hero for seeing those turtles and helping them get rescued! He may be a natural wildlife rescuer when he's older!" the post read.
Wildlife, Inc. said there are many reasons a newly-hatched loggerhead sea turtle can become lost when trying to make it to the ocean. Outdoor lights left on overnight, like flood lights on beach side rentals, can disorient them. The baby turtles will walk toward the light instead of the ocean.
Wildlife, Inc. said there are laws in place to prevent this kind of thing from happening, but people still leave lights on by accident or out of lack of knowledge. Volunteer turtle watchers and police try to spread the word, but the message doesn't always reach everyone.
Volunteer turtle watchers regularly patrol the beaches, checking on the status of known sea turtle and shorebird nest sites. They also inspect the hotels to make sure turtle-safe bulbs are being used during nesting season.
For more information, visit http://www.wildlifeinc.org/.