NewsPinellas County


Clearwater Marine Aquarium cares for 2 sea turtles impacted by red tide

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Posted at 8:27 PM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 23:23:27-04

CLEARWATER, FLA.-  — The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is currently caring for two sea turtles affected by red tide.

Dr.Shelly Marquardt, Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s veterinarian, said turtles impacted by red tide may be found floating, may have uncoordinated swimming or may have beached themselves.

At intake, the turtles usually exhibit neurological signs that are most consistent with seizure-like behavior and disorientation.

The aquarium named the two Kemp's Ridley sea turtles, Alexis Rose and Chandler.

"Chandler is a little bit newer to us so doing very well swimming, hasn’t quite started eating yet, but progressing exactly like we would expect for this situation," said Dr. Marquardt.

The aquarium rescued Chandler this past Sunday. The aquarium has been caring for the other turtle, Alexis Rose, since late July.

"These turtles are actually exposed to the red tide when they either eat contaminated fish that have been exposed to the toxin or the sea grass that's growing out there, kind of the toxin settles on it and then they'll ingest it. Specifically with the Kemp's Ridley, they're not really grass eaters like the green sea turtles so these guys are probably ingesting toxic fish," said Dr. Marquardt.

Dr. Marquardt said the sea turtles receive treatment like fluids and antibiotics.

"Alexis Rose has been here a little bit longer than Chandler. She’s eating like a champ, swimming and so hopefully with her we’re actually just going to get a final blood work here next week and make the determination if she’s ready to go with the red tide and everything. We may hold her a little bit longer if it’s not safe, but she’s certainly doing wonderfully and has cleared that very well."

The latest red tide report released on Friday from FWC shows the algae bloom still present. Fish kills suspected to be related to red tide were reported in Southwest Florida in Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte counties over the past week.

To report a stranding or marine animal in distress contact the CMA 24-hr rescue hotline at: 727-441-1790 Ext. 1