Today is World Sea Turtle Day. It is also nesting season.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is reminding beachgoers they can help protect nesting sea turtles by practicing some simple tips.
Each year, thousands of sea turtles nest on Florida’s beaches. Because Florida is so important to these animals, beachgoers can help keep the beaches clean and dark so sea turtles nest successfully.
“Everyone benefits from clean beaches and, since most of Florida’s sea turtles nest at night, it is important to keep our beaches dark because bright lights can disorient nesting turtles,” said FWC.
Stash the trash:
Obstacles on the beach can prevent sea turtles from nesting as they crawl from the water, across the sand, to lay their eggs. They can also prevent sea turtle hatchlings from reaching the water once they emerge from their nests. Beachgoers can help sea turtles by properly disposing of all trash, filling in holes in the sand, and putting away boats, beach toys, and furniture. Fishing lines can be deadly to sea turtles and other wildlife, so be sure to dispose of them properly.
Bright lighting can misdirect and disturb nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings, leading them away from the ocean and toward potential danger, therefore, FWC says beachgoers should avoid using flashlights or cellphones on the beach at night.
FWC said, “Anyone living along or visiting Florida beaches can do their part by turning out lights or closing curtains after dark to ensure nesting turtles are not disturbed as they come ashore and hatchlings will not become disoriented when they emerge from their nests. If lighting could still be visible from the beach, be sure it is long, low, and shielded.”
Dr. Robbin Trindell, who heads the FWC’s sea turtle management program, said, “As beachgoers, we can all do our part to help sea turtles survive.” He went on to say, “By keeping beaches dark and clearing the way at the end of the day, we can help ensure that these amazing animals keep returning to our beautiful state.”
Other ways to help sea turtles include reporting those that are sick, injured, entangled, or dead to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).