Mote Marine Laboratory sincerely thanks the Sea Turtle Grants Program for awarding $14,309 for new equipment that will help the Lab save more sea turtles’ lives.

  • Learn more about the Sea Turtle Grants Program, which is operated by the Sea Turtle Conservancy and funded by proceeds from the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate:

The new grant will purchase an updated endoscope, attachments and laptop computer for Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital to carry out essential procedures — especially examining and removing fish hooks, plastic trash and other debris that turtles have swallowed.

“Our hospital cares for 50 turtles each year on average, and many of those have swallowed foreign objects that can cause internal injuries and prevent them from eating,” said Lynne Byrd, Medical Care and Rehabilitation Coordinator at Mote. “Removing such objects is crucial, but the turtles are often in poor condition and any procedure must be done delicately and efficiently. An endoscope allows us to see the foreign object, determine how it is lodged in the turtle’s body and how best to remove it, allowing for a swifter and safer surgery.”

An endoscope has a light and camera on a flexible tube that veterinary professionals can insert gently into an animal’s body, much the way a doctor would during a human digestive exam.

Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital has admitted more than 560 sick and injured sea turtles since 1995, including all five species found in the Gulf of Mexico. Most of these turtles were rescued by Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program, a 24-hour response program for distressed or dead sea turtles and marine mammals in Sarasota and Manatee counties. These round-the-clock rescues and rehabilitations matter: All sea turtle species are threatened or endangered. Each one returned to the wild has a second chance to contribute to the population.

“We are passionate about our mission, and the Sea Turtle Conservancy has shown that they are too,” said Gretchen Lovewell, manager of Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program. “Since 2002, their Sea Turtle Grants Program has provided an incredible 26 grants for Mote’s research, rescue and rehabilitation of these endangered reptiles. We can’t thank them enough.”

Report marine life in distress
Within Sarasota or Manatee county waters, if you see a stranded or dead dolphin, whale or sea turtle, please call Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program at 888-345-2335.

If you see a stranded or dead manatee anywhere in Florida waters or a stranded or dead dolphin, whale or sea turtle outside of Sarasota or Manatee counties, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Wildlife Alert hotline at 1-888-404-3922.