A new facility that could mean life rather than death for injured or sick sea turtles has opened up at the Brevard Zoo.
The 2,400-square foot Sea Turtle Healing Center offers distressed, rescued sea turtles a place to rehabilitate. Two weeks ago the zoo got a big break and received the permit they'd been waiting to get for years.
"That permit allows us to rehabilitate any sea turtle that is brought to us in the county of Brevard," said Dr. Trevor Zachariah, director of veterinary programs at Brevard Zoo.
More loggerhead and green sea turtles nest on Brevard County's beaches than anywhere else. Shark bait and BB, two loggerheads, are some of the first patients at the healing center.
[RELATED: 31 sea turtles released in Jacksonville]
Zachariah said prior to the new facility opening up, the closest rehab center for sea turtles was more than 100 miles away.
"They've been pushing for a long time to try and get a facility here in Brevard County," Zachariah said. "The zoo was finally in a position where we were able to provide the partnership to make that happen."
The beginning stages of sea turtle nesting season in Brevard County have also begun. Officials say leatherbacks have started to set up shop and in a couple of weeks loggerheads and green sea turtles will start showing up too.
Beginning May 1, Brevard County residents who live on the beach are required to turn their lights off by 9 p.m. so the turtles don't get confused.