Turtle Hospital In Marathon Ready To Celebrate Earth Day

Remember, this year’s Earth Day message is, “As the world returns to normal, we can't go back to business as usual."

Video Transcript

- Welcome back. Earth Day will be celebrated around the world next Thursday. But one local organization is doing their part every day to help save sea turtles. CBS 4 photojournalist Rafael Marciano took a trip down to the Florida Keys. Here's a firsthand look at the amazing work being done at the turtle hospital.

- This is a radiograph, or an X-ray, of Andy, which is a post-hatchling hawksbill sea turtle that was just rescued last night in the Upper Keys.

BETTY ZIRKELBACH: We cover over 200 miles of coastline, all of Monroe County and the Florida Keys. We have four ambulances that respond to rescues. We have animal care staff that actually live here, in those old motel rooms that are now converted into apartments.

We have educational programs and see over 85,000 people a year. Well, those people come here, they get to meet sea turtles, they learn what a sick sea turtle looks like. And then they're out on our waters and they become the eyes on our waters. And just yesterday, we have an adult female loggerhead sea turtle rescued, and it was people that had been through our program the day before, gave us a call, and we went and rescued that turtle.

- We see a lot of fishing gear entanglements, trap lines from lobster and stone crab traps. We also see ingestion of plastic and synthetics. So a lot of human impact injuries.

BETTY ZIRKELBACH: Earth Day is a big day. But I am happy to say now, in 2021, Earth Day is every day. I feel like the generations now, we are learning about our environment, we are more aware of our environment. It doesn't take Earth Day for us to be aware. So that is giving me hope as an individual.