Protecting sea turtles during Hurricane Irma

Many South Floridians are wondering what will happen to all of the sea turtles in our area if Hurricane Irma hits. (WPEC)

Update: Loggerhead sent a tweet Friday evening announcing the safe arrival of the sea turtles to the Georgia Aquarium during Hurricane Irma.

Many South Floridians are wondering what will happen to all of the sea turtles in our area if Hurricane Irma hits.

The big decision of if they will be transported to another facility is expected Thursday, depending on what Irma does in the next 12 hours.

If they choose to transport the sea turtles, there's a good chance they'll take a trip out of state.

“The two that I am most concern with are these two here. These are our newest patients Kenny and Brianna,” said Dr. Charles Manire, a veterinarian and director of research and rehabilitation at Loggerhead Marinelife Center.

The turtles he pointed out have been recovering for less than three weeks.

“They were brought in, and their bone structures are very week because of the starvation and so forth,” Dr. Manire said.

Sea turtles Kenny and Brianna might have to leave their new home until it’s safe to return.

“We have made arrangements with two facilities SeaWorld Orlando and the Georgia Aquarium,” Dr. Manire said.

He said the most likely option is sending the 10 sea turtles and 40 hatchlings to Atlanta.

“With past history with hurricanes, there is no place in Florida that is really safe and especially with a storm this big, this strong, it’s probably safe for them in Georgia,” Dr. Manire said.

He said no matter if the storm shifts, they will be safer there because they will be inland and inside the facility.

Moving them out of state comes along with some extra paperwork because many are in danger of extinction.

“We also had to get special permits to take them out of the state of Florida and import them in to the state of Georgia and vice versa when they return because they are endangered,” Dr. Manire said.

Manire explained the sea turtles that are in poor condition have be transported in a specific way to prevent them from dying.

As for the facility they have set up sand bags along the doors which is a sign they are now closed for the next few days.

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