Special animals require special equipment, and thanks to a pair of grants from local community foundations, Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital will be even better equipped to serve the region’s turtle patients.

Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Manatee Community Foundation have each provided support for a new, specialized surgical table for us at Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital. Designed for animals weighing up to a thousand pounds, the surgical table will improve Mote’s ability to perform critical procedures for sea turtles. Mote treats patients suffering from boat strike, fishing gear entanglement and ingestion, cold stun events, fibropapilloma tumors, and much more.

“While we make use of any equipment we’re able to get our hands on, including sometimes using donated hospital equipment, there are some tools that need to be designed for larger animals,” said Mote’s Medical Care & Rehabilitation Manager Lynne Byrd. “We’re grateful that Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Manatee Community Foundation both provided support to buy this life-saving equipment.”

Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital has seen nearly 1,000 turtle patients since it opened in the 1990s, and averages around 45 patients per year. Many patients are loggerhead sea turtles, which also happens to be the most common nester in the southwest Florida region. Byrd continued, “Our region’s nesting loggerhead population is one of the largest in the Gulf of Mexico, so it’s vitally important we save every turtle we can so they can go on to contribute to their species’ survival.”

Turtles suffering from fibropapilloma tumors also receive surgical care at Mote, one of the few hospitals in the state with special facilities and expertise to treat this debilitating disease. Nearly exclusively affecting juvenile green turtles, these tumors grow both externally and internally, but when removed, the turtle has the potential to make a full recovery.

Learn more about Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital, and meet current patients, at mote.org/hospital.

See a stranded, sick or deceased sea turtle in Sarasota and Manatee counties? Call Mote’s Stranding Investigations 24/7 hotline at 888-345-2335.

About Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, based in Sarasota, Florida, has conducted marine research since its founding as a small, one-room laboratory in 1955. Since then, Mote has grown to encompass more than 20 research and conservation programs that span the spectrum of marine science: sustainable aquaculture systems designed to alleviate growing pressures on wild fish populations; red tide research that works to inform the public and mitigate the adverse effects of red tide with innovative technologies; marine animal science, conservation and rehabilitation programs dedicated to the protection of animals such as sea turtles, manatees and dolphins; and much more. Mote Aquarium, accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, is open 365 days per year. Learn more at mote.org or connect with @motemarinelab on Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About the Community Foundation of Sarasota County

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community. With assets of $520 million in more than 1,570 charitable funds, the Community Foundation awarded grants and scholarships totaling $27.5 million dollars last year in the areas of education, the arts, health and human services, civic engagement, animal welfare and the environment. Since its founding, the Community Foundation has been able to grant more than $350 million to area nonprofit organizations to our community thanks to the generosity of charitable individuals, families, and businesses. For more information, visit www.CFSarasota.org or call (941) 955-3000.

About Manatee Community Foundation

Manatee Community Foundation partners with citizens to strengthen and enhance our community through philanthropy, education, and service—now and forever. Since 1998, the Foundation has awarded grants and scholarships, brought community leaders together for important conversations, and led initiatives that improve the quality of life for people and animals, and enhance special places. For more information, visit www.ManateeCF.org  or call (941) 747-7765.