90.7 WMFE and 89.5 WMFV are Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming and Classical Music. Part of the community since 1965, providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

Newly Discovered Virus Behind Turtle Die-Off In St. Johns River, Researchers Say

Softshell turtle. Photo courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

We’re learning more about a die-off of softshell turtles and cooters in the St. Johns River.

The turtles appear to be afflicted with a virus that never has been seen before.

Some 300 dead or sick turtles have been reported in the past year in the St. Johns River from Palm Bay to Palatka and also in Cocoa Beach, Eustis, Lake Apopka and Windermere.

Lisa Shender of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the turtles are lethargic and suffering from lesions.

“They’re just up on the bank, either up on the bank of the river with their necks laid out and they’re dead or they’re floating in the water dead.”

She asks the public to contact Florida Fish and Wildlife with any reports of dead turtles as researchers work to better understand the virus.

“We’re interested in knowing if it just occurs in the same location as it did last year or if it’s spreading to new locations,” Shender says. “We would like to continue to collect additional carcuses to take a look at them.”

Florida Fish and Wildlife is partnering with the University of Florida, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in the investigation.

Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida news, updates on special programs and more.

Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »