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Loggerhead Marinelife Center works to protect wildlife after red tide confirmed off Palm Beach Co.

Posted at 6:19 AM, Oct 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-02 11:12:40-04

The Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach is working to protect local wildlife following confirmation Monday that there are levels of red tide in waters off the Palm Beach County coast.

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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation tests said the concentration of the algae that causes red tide is low to medium.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center researchers said they also took their own samples off Juno Beach, finding small numbers of red tide organisms in the water.

The center said water they use at their sea turtle hospital is brought from the ocean.

Loggerhead workers said they didn't find any red tide organisms in the intake water that supplies the sea turtle hospital and none of the turtles are showing signs of red tide distress.

However, Loggerhead is requesting emergency funding for equipment to monitor toxin levels in sea turtles in real time, as well as to buy medication that can detox and treat turtles.

Loggerhead is also preparing to accept turtles from the wild that could experience issues from red tide. 

Turtles can be affected by red tide toxins not by the water but from the food they eat.

"It affects the brain, the central nervous system and causes neurological symptoms that usually causes muscle twitching or head bobbing. That's the normal symptoms that we see first with red tide poisoning," said Charles Manire with Loggerhead Marinelife Center Director of Research and Rehabilitation.

Since red tide events on Florida’s east coast are often much shorter than those on the west coast, they hope this has a minimal impact on area wildlife.