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MELBOURNE (CBSMiami) — Brevard Zoo’s Sea Turtle Healing Center is caring for nearly 300 green and loggerhead sea turtle “washbacks” pushed ashore when Hurricane Leslie disrupted their habitat.

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“When sea turtles hatch, they rely on energy stores from a yolk sac to make the multi-mile swim to offshore weed lines—floating masses of Sargassum seaweed that provide shelter and food,” explained sea turtle program manager Shanon Gann. “If the seaweed is disrupted by a storm or strong winds that wash them back to shore, the little turtles do not have the energy to make the long swim again.”

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(Courtesy: Brevard Zoo)

Healing Center staff and volunteers are caring for the washbacks for a few days until open ocean conditions improve; at that time, they will be transported offshore in a boat and placed in weed lines.

Sea Turtle Preservation Society (STPS) volunteers are transporting the turtles to the Healing Center. Individuals who find washbacks should immediately call STPS at 321-676-1701 or Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-3922 for rescue instructions.

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Brevard Zoo is home to more than 900 animals representing 195 species from all over the world.