Coast Guard releases more than 200 sea turtles off Florida coast

The U.S. Coast Guard released more than 200 sea turtles into the ocean off the coast of South Florida.

Crew members released green, loggerhead and hawksbill sea turtles about 10 miles off the Fort Lauderdale coast. The turtles were from multiple sea turtle hospitals along Florida's east coast.

"Since the pandemic, we've had a hard time finding volunteers to assist us with sea turtle releases," said Whitney Crowder, the sea turtle rehabilitation coordinator with Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. "But the Coast Guard hasn't said no yet."

(Courtesy: US Coast Guard District 7/Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicole Groll)

The young turtles were recuperating after being found injured during the summer nesting season.

The turtles, known as washbacks, were blown back to shore as they journeyed from their nest to the ocean. When turtles are blown back to shore, it's a sign something is wrong, officials said.

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The juvenile turtles are often emaciated and can have injuries, usually from predators.

"Many of these turtles do not make it due to various obstacles they need to overcome, which is why sea turtles have such large nests," said Crowder. "We are giving them a better chance to become an adult by releasing them offshore and as close to the Gulf Stream and their habitat, as possible."

(Courtesy: US Coast Guard District 7/Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicole Groll)