BIG PINE KEY (CBSMiami/FKNB)) – Just in time for World Sea Turtle Day, which is this Sunday, marine researchers have completed a 10-day assessment of the iconic green sea turtle in the Florida Keys.
Data including measurements, skin biopsies, and bloodwork from 26 turtles was acquired. All were released except for three that are being treated at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital for Fibropapillomatosis, a herpes-like virus that affects turtles worldwide.READ MORE: Situation At Matheson Hammock Park In Miami-Dade Heats Up
The project’s goals were to examine where green turtles live and feed in Keys waters, measure the incidence of Fibropapillomatosis and evaluating green turtles’ general health.
The effort was a collaboration between the Turtle Hospital, other marine research groups, and Force Blue, a non-profit that aids returning combat veterans through mission-focused programs to help the world’s ocean environment.READ MORE: FEMA-Funded South Florida Sites To Administer First Doses Of Pfizer Vaccines
Force Blue members aided the effort to collect turtles. Once a turtle was located, it was tracked until the boat was close enough so the Force Blue diver and a biologist could dive into the water and grasp the reptile to load it on the boat. In some cases, they used a net to scoop turtles into the vessel.
Results are to be released after the analysis is completed.
The project was permitted by National Marine Fisheries and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.MORE NEWS: CVS, NAACP Team Up To Get COVID Vaccines To People Of Color In South Florida
The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.