Volusia County, FL-A rare Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle has made it’s way to a Volusia County beach for the first time since 2014. She was spotted on the beach on Tuesday, making her nest in Daytona Beach Shores.
There have been only eight recorded Kemp’s Ridley nests in Volusia County since 1988, two in 1996, one in 1998, one in 2005, one in 2010, one in 2012 and two in 2014. The mother turtle was tagged after the nesting in hopes of collecting future data.
According to Jennifer Winters, habitat conservation plan manager with Volusia County Environmental Management, the Kemp’s ridley is a critically endangered species and is considered the rarest sea turtle species found nesting in Florida.
Beachside residents and visitors are reminded that turtle nesting season continues through Oct. 31. During nesting season, residents are required to turn off, shield or redirect lights so they don’t shine on the beach.
“Artificial lighting is a human-made threat we can correct with minimal effort,”Winters noted. “Bright lights can prevent females from nesting, and they can confuse hatchlings, leading them away from the ocean and into the streets or storm drains. By simply redirecting lights away from the beach and turning them off when not in use, beachfront residents can help sea turtles survive.”
If you see a nesting adult sea turtle or hatchlings making their way to the ocean, admire them from a distance. Stand far away, remain calm and quietly watch this miracle unfold. If a turtle appears to be in immediate danger, notify a lifeguard or beach safety officer or call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-3922.
For information about Volusia County’s sea turtle program, call 386-238-4668 or click here. For questions about lighting, call 386-238-4773.
Photo courtesy of Volusia County Environmental Management.
Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2016.