White sea turtles are rare in nature, but teams in Florida have discovered two in as many weeks, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.
Nest monitors found one loggerhead hatchling at a nature reserve, and it was strong enough to swim away. But the white sea turtle shown here, which was found near New Smyrna Beach, needed a little extra care.
"All of the other hatchlings had escaped and this one was down there on the bottom," Amber Bridges, a field biologist with Ecological Associates, told the newspaper. "I tried to release it but it was too weak."
She brought the white turtle to the Marine Science Center in Volusia County, where it recuperated and was later released into the wild. The center has helped thousands of turtles and sea birds recover and return to the wild, according to its website.
Although this particular turtle is white due to a lack of pigment, it is not an albino. However, there have been other reported cases of albino sea turtles.
Sea turtle conservation is an important issue in Florida. Earlier this month, an egg-carrying female hawksbill sea turtle was transported to a hospital in the Florida Keys after being flown to Miami from the U.S. Virgin Islands.
According to the NOAA, most species of sea turtles are endangered, including the loggerhead. A few species, such as the hawksbill turtle, are listed as "critically endangered," according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Turtle populations in the Gulf of Mexico were greatly impacted by the 2011 BP oil spill, with dead animals reported at 4 to 6 times the normal rate during the months following the ecological disaster.