Water-Related News

Sick sea turtles showing up on Sanibel

The number of animals stricken with red tide poisoning in Lee County waters is on the rise as one local animal hospital has taken in five sea turtles and hundreds of coastal birds.

"We’ve been seeing a lot of red tide poisoning in sea turtles," said Heather Barron, director of the animal hospital at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, or CROW, on Sanibel. "Usually we see sea turtles this time of year, and we’ve seen five recently. And we’ve probably had 200 to 300 birds since the start of the red tide season in October."

This bloom has lingered along the Southwest Florida coast since last fall and has primarily been found in Lee County waters, although the bloom has been documented from the Tampa Bay area to Florida Bay at various times.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission report released Wednesday shows red tide in Charlotte Harbor, along the Lee County coast, in Naples and along Marco Island.