Florida – The beginning of March marks Florida’s sea turtle nesting season on the Atlantic Coast and the Florida Fish Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) asks beachgoers to use caution.
The sea turtle season continues through the month of October, and in these eight months, the FWC urges beachgoers to help protect these nesting sea turtles by leaving the beach clear by sundown.
In the last year, 120,000 loggerhead, 5,000 green, and 1,000 leatherback sea turtle nests were recorded in Florida. The loggerhead nest population in Florida alone is 90% of the population of all loggerheads in the Atlantic Ocean.
“Anyone spending time on Florida’s beaches can do something to help save Florida’s threatened and endangered sea turtles. People’s actions on the beach can have a positive impact on whether our loggerhead, leatherback and green sea turtles nest successfully,” says the head of the sea turtle management program under the FWC, Dr. Robbin Trindell.
Beachgoers can recognize sea turtle nesting areas as they are marked off with plastic tape and signs to protect the nests that the FWC monitors.
“Whether you are a resident or a visitor, remember to take beach furniture, boats and canopies off Florida’s sandy beaches at night so these items won’t block sea turtles attempting to nest,” Trindell said. “When departing at the end of the day, beach visitors should fill any holes dug in the sand so nesting and hatchling turtles don’t become trapped. Please be careful not to disturb nesting sea turtles by getting too close, shining lights on them or taking flash photos.”
The FWC asks that people contact the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922), #FWC or *FWC on a cellphone, or via text to Tip@MyFWC.com to report any issues regarding sea turtles.
To donate to the cause, the FWC suggests the purchase of a “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” Florida license plate at BuyAPlate.com or a donation of $5 at MyFWC.com for a car decal that helps keep research, rescue, and conservation funded.
For more information go to MyFWC.com and click on “Research” then “Nesting.”
Photo courtesy of Leigh Trail and Shutterstock.com.
Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2017.