4 year old boy rescues baby sea turtles trapped in Manatee storm drain
BRADENTON BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – A four-year-old boy is being hailed a hero after spotting baby sea turtles trapped in a storm drain.
On Monday afternoon, 4-year-old Aiden Henson was walking with his family on Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach. They were on their way to buy some beach toys when Aiden spotted something in a storm drain.
“On the way he decided that he needed to look in the drain, and he told me that he saw a crab,” recalled his grandmother Beth.
So they went in for a closer look. “I looked down the drain and I saw one turtle,” said 4-year-old Aiden.
Turns out, there were three turtles swimming in the storm drain on the hot summer afternoon.
“There wasn’t very much water in there and I was afraid it was going to get too warm,” said Beth Henson.
So the family got in touch with the rescue group Wildlife, Inc. Rescuers with the non-profit came by along with some officers from Florida Fish and Wildlife. Together, a group of them worked hard to lift the storm drain.
“It was a struggle with all four of us to raise that up. It’s pretty heavy,” said Ed Straight with Wildlife Inc.
The storm drain led to a retention pond. Straight and his colleagues were concerned for the turtles. “If they’d had gotten into the retention pond, they would’ve all died,” Straight said.
After removing the three sea turtles, they began a search to see if other baby sea turtles were nearby. A fourth turtle was found across the street, and sadly around 10 dead baby sea turtles were found in the area.
“They were really dehydrated. They need to be into the water quite quickly after they hatch,” said Straight.
Straight says a nest was located on the beach nearby, and it appears the baby sea turtles became disoriented and wandered toward the road instead of the water. Baby sea turtles naturally wander toward the bright horizon, and Straight says they can become confused by house lights or vehicle headlights.
Straight says Aiden is a hero for spotting these turtles.
“If he hadn’t have seen them, they would’ve definitely all died,” said Straight.