CLEARWATER — Sickly sea turtles stunned by the cold weather have been arriving by the score at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, stretching the aquarium's turtle team thin.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, two dozen turtles were taken in for rehabilitation. More than 140 turtles have been taken in this year, less than half still alive. Many have the debilitating fibropapilloma virus, which produces external tumors that can hamper a turtle's ability to swim, eat or see and requires heightened care.
The aquarium announced Wednesday an "urgent need for additional supplies to help the new patients survive." Donations can be made at the aquarium's site: www.seewinter.com.
"This winter has been exceptionally harsh for sea turtles," said Abby Stone, part of the aquarium's stranding team. As temperatures drop, she said, so do the temperatures of the turtles, to dangerously low levels.
"We need your help to help these endangered animals," she said.