“We protect and preserve them because they are so important ecologically. They are also culturally important. They have been a part of the Gulf Coast culture for eons.
Turtles are charismatic. Gentle and Beautiful. Graceful. When people see them, they are in awe. And, Cape San Blas, and Gulf County in general, is a huge hot spot for turtles. We are the highest density-nesting beach in North Florida. This year we are almost up to 149 nests. It’s a record setting year!
We invite people to watch our nest evaluations at night. One night we had 50-75 people watching for the first time and some live hatchlings crawled out! There they were on vacation and they got to see new life! A new fresh baby turtle seeing the world for the first time. What a memory.
Once we see lots of baby turtle tracks around the nest, we wait for three more days to make sure all of the babies can get out successfully and safely on their own. Then, we announce on Facebook that a nest has hatched and we are planning a public evaluation. When we dig up the nest, we determine hatch success. If it’s in an area that the public can get to easily, we invite people out. It’s generally around 8:30 or so in the evening. People see the nests, egg shells, some whole eggs left, and if they are very lucky, live hatchlings sometimes wander out.
In case we we do see live hatchlings at a public evaluation, we throw out the “baby turtle red carpet.” We set up stakes and a clear aisle to the water. We pull them out of the nest and put them on the sand. It’s important they walk by themselves because it is a big step in their development.
Updated: Dec 08, 2017 0:23
Published: Apr 11, 2015 21:01