​​​Turtles and alligators were left helpless, without adequate food, water or shade when they found themselves stuck in a drained concrete retention pond in Florida. Luckily, concerned employees in the area saw what was happening and got the help that might have saved their lives!

Melissa Murray, an employee in the Shoppes of Boot Ranch shopping center in Palm Harbor, said she noticed the animals inside the pond in mid-April. The water had been drained, and workers were cleaning it out, leaving the animals with nothing but mud and very little water.

Source: FOX 13 Tampa Bay/Youtube

“I saw that there was a turtle and I was like, ‘Hey! Stop the tractor,’ just letting him know that there’s a turtle over here,” she said. The worker refused to stop, she said, so she called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for backup. The retention pond was completely dry cement, and there was no moisture or place for the animals to seek shade. It wasn’t until five weeks after the animals were first spotted that they were finally getting the help they so desperately needed.

“After the work on the pond was complete, the pond began filling with water. The officer observed alligators in the retention pond and noted that they all looked healthy,” wrote Melody Kilborn, a spokesperson for the organization.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission contacted Fairl Thomas, who works with organizations to rescue wildlife, to determine the next steps and the best spot to release them. Since alligators and turtles are cold-blooded animals, they require sunlight to regulate their body temperature. However, too much direct sunlight for weeks on end can be deadly, said Thomas. It causes them to overheat, she added. Altogether, FFWCC, Thomas, and everyone involved rescued the alligators and large softshell turtles in two separate attempts!

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