Florida Blue and The Florida Aquarium, Working Together to Protect Our Oceans
Did you know sea turtles give us insight into the overall health of our state’s waters? The number of sea turtles and health of the population impacts our oceans. The Florida Aquarium explained that sea turtles eat ocean jellies (jellyfish), preventing the large “blooms” that negatively impact fisheries, recreation and other marine activities. They also keep sponge populations in check, which provides more habitat for growing corals. Plus, sea grass beds grazed on by sea turtles are more productive than those that are not.
Recently, we joined The Florida Aquarium to open its new Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center in Apollo Beach. The two-story, 19,000-square-foot center features five different rehabilitation pools including one of the state’s deepest turtle-exclusive dive pools to assess rehabilitated turtles’ ability to dive, swim and search for food prior to being released.
“This new facility not only furthers The Florida Aquarium’s mission of protecting and restoring our fragile Blue Planet, it also aligns with our Florida Blue mission to help people and communities achieve better health because healthy seas are essential to healthy Florida communities,” said David Pizzo, Florida Blue’s West Coast Market President.
The Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center will be a valuable asset to The Florida Aquarium’s Animal Response Team that manages sea turtle rescue, rehabilitation and release efforts. Last year, Florida Blue provided a major grant to The Florida Aquarium to expand its Animal Response Team and its work to create a healthier, natural environment and healthy planet.
The Animal Response Team has helped rescue and rehabilitate more than 150 threatened or endangered turtles since its inception in 1995.
SEA TURTLE FUN FACTS
Roughly 90 percent of all sea turtle nesting in the United States takes place on Florida’s beaches.
There are seven different species of sea turtles including Flatback, Green, Hawksbill, Kemp’s Ridley, Leatherback, Loggerhead and Olive Ridley.
Of the six sea turtle species found in U.S. waters or that nest on U.S. Beaches, all are designated as either threatened or endangered.
Some sea turtles can live up to 50-years or longer.
Leatherback sea turtles can travel more than 10,000 miles every year.
Green sea turtles can stay underwater for up to five hours.
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