Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ready When Turtle Is in Need; A Sick Loggerhead Is Getting Help from a Group That Watches Its Kind

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ready When Turtle Is in Need; A Sick Loggerhead Is Getting Help from a Group That Watches Its Kind

Article excerpt

Byline: MARY HURST

FERNANDINA BEACH - Three days after Margo, make that Wolfgang, the sea turtle washed up on Amelia Island, officials said they were closely monitoring the critically ill loggerhead.

When the turtle washed ashore Monday just north of Beach Access 35 on South Fletcher Avenue, a clutch of Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch volunteers were there.

Vicki Lanier, Nancy Hickman and Cecilia Davis-Taylor brought out an umbrella to shade the loggerhead from the sun. Davis-Taylor held its head and splashed water on it to keep it cool. Despite not knowing whether the sea turtle was male or female, they named it Margo.

The volunteers also called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which is responsible for picking up sick, injured or dead sea turtles.

Marine turtle services agent Allen Foley took Margo to the Marine Science Center at Ponce Inlet in southern Volusia County, where there is a sea turtle rehabilitation program.

Michele Bauer at the center reported Wednesday that the turtle - an early teenager in people years - got into some too-cold water and had developed a really bad case of pneumonia.

"We've named him Wolfgang because of the 8 pounds of algae we pulled off his shell," she said. "We don't know if he's male or female either, but he's in critical condition."

Bauer brought the turtle home with her Wednesday to care for it during Tropical Storm Ernesto. The creature is on two antibiotics.

The Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch is a volunteer group formed in 1985 to integrate a variety of activities focused on the conservation of the island's nesting sea turtle population.

The original group was spawned from an interest of Greenpeace and the Florida Department of Natural Resources, later the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, to determine the status of sea turtle nesting activity on Amelia Island. The group incorporated in 1988.

Loggerheads, green and leatherbacks turtles all nest on Amelia Island.

Trained volunteers spend the summer looking for and marking nests where female members of the endangered species lay their eggs. …

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