How red tide impacts turtle hatchlings

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Experts say when baby turtles, also known as hatchlings, start looking for the Gulf, red tide can leave the animals critically injured or dead.

Red tide has ravaged the turtle population as dead turtles wash ashore weekly.

MORE: Red tide impact on sea turtles

“To put this is perspective, last year, during the whole year we only had around 30 strandings. We have 95 now. That’s triple, so logically a lot of that is related to red tide,” said the director of science at the conservancy of Southwest Florida, Kathy Worley.

Worley says strandings are when sea turtles become critically injured, or dead.

As for hatchlings, Worley says the algae bloom can severely disorient them.

“They become lethargic,” Worley said. “It’s a neurotoxin, so it’ll cause them to lose their equilibrium.”

Worley says loggerheads and kemps ridley turtles, two species that are already endangered, are the most affected.

MORE: Mote’s Hatchling Hospital gives baby turtles a second chance

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