“In Gulf County we get lots of nesting Loggerhead turtles. On our 6-mile stretch, St. Joseph Peninsula, we average about 90 to 100 nests. This year we are almost up to 149 nests. It’s a record setting year! Two years ago we had 227. We are hoping this is a sign and that population increase is a trend.”, explains Jessica, Adventure Guide and SJP Turtle Patrol Volunteer Coordinator.
Those little loggerheads have a long and strenuous first walk. How can we help them out?
“We occasionally see false crawls because turtles crawl up and into trash or beach equipment left out overnight. Some turtles get entangled into the stuff. Or, mom’s don’t lay their eggs because they can’t find a clean spot. And, hatchlings only have so much energy. If they spend that energy to try and go through beach equipment; it’s likely they get stuck in those things and won’t make it. They need the clear path to the water and even then it’s a hard walk.
So, keep a clear path from the nest to the water. Get everyone in on the act! Level your sand castles and big holes so turtles don’t get stuck. Remove all your gear every night. Those little things really help the mommy and baby turtles survive.
If you want to go out to catch crabs or see stars at night, use a red filtered light from a sporting goods store. You can buy a sticker, too. Or, I just put a red tissue paper or saran wrap over a flash light. I make my own. That way the babies aren’t distracted by your light. And, it’s a cool thing to do with your kids.
If you ever see a nesting or hatching turtle, leave them alone. If you see a nest being harmed, you can call the FWC hotline at 888-404-FWCC.”
Want to see a turtle nest? Go on a turtle walk with Jessica and her SJP Turtle Patrol. Or, follow the SJP Turtle Patrol on Facebook and find out when their next public evaluation is happening. You could see some live hatchlings make their journey!
Updated: Dec 08, 2017 0:21
Published: Apr 11, 2015 21:51