FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Aug. 16, 2013
SEA TURTLE NEST COUNT SECOND HIGHEST ON RECORD
~DEP staff and volunteers track and protect sea turtles during nesting season~
A sea turtle hatchling swims to the water at Guana Tolomato Mantanzas Research Reserve.
TALLAHASSEE – Researchers at Florida's three National Estuarine Research Reserves are reporting that this year's sea turtle nesting season is boasting the second highest nest count on record at the reserves. Sea turtle nesting season begins in early May and extends to October 31.
than 1,800 biologists, interns and trained volunteers patrol Florida's 199
nesting beaches to identify, mark and monitor nests and evaluate nest
productivity after the hatchlings emerge. Researchers at Florida’s three National
Estuarine Research Reserves located in Naples, Apalachicola and Ponte Vedra Beach
gather evidence to track sea turtle populations and document the success of the nest outcomes.
and volunteers at Florida’s three NERR’s play an important role in protecting
sea turtles and helping to ensure hatchlings have the best chance for survival,”
said Kevin Claridge, director of DEP’s Coastal and Aquatic Management Areas.
“Florida’s NERRs are essential for the preservation of the state’s unique
coastal landscape and the species that live there.”
Early each morning during the season, staff, volunteers and
interns with Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Naples patrol
miles of sand along five beaches that account for nearly half of all the turtle
activity in Collier County. This year’s
nesting activity is higher than last year. There are 461 documented nests in
2013 compared to 427 in 2012.
Researches at Guana Tolomato Mantanzas
National Estuarine Research Reserve are reporting fewer nest compared to last year: 174 to 183. However, among these are 14 Atlantic Green Turtle nests. Green sea turtles are
highly endangered and an increase in nesting is a welcome sign for its
At the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, 226 nests have been caged by the patrols on 12 miles of beaches and two additional nearby islands. While nests can
be inundated by high tides and coastal storms, the most serious threat is eggs
being dug up and consumed or otherwise obliterated by predators, so the cages
provide a needed defense.
Young turtles have a small amount of energy that
must take them to the water, which under
natural conditions is the brightest spot on the nighttime beach. If they
disorient – and head the wrong way – they may starve to death before landing in
the floating sargassum weeds which are their food source.
Tips to not disturb sea turtle nests:
- Take all personal
belongings from the beach at the end of the day so no obstacles exist on
the way to the water.
- Flatten sand castles and
fill in holes.
- Pick up and properly
dispose of litter on the beach.
- Stay off the dunes and use
the designated walkovers for crossing.
- Shield any artificial
lighting that might shine towards the beach.