Sea turtle nesting season is in full swing on our local beaches, and it is important for us to be aware of our local friends. The first nest was officially documented on February 27 and the season officially continues through October 31.
Our local Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach is a nonprofit sea turtle research, rehabilitation, and educational institution that promotes the conservation of ocean ecosystems with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The Center features an on-site hospital, research laboratory, educational exhibits, and is a must-visit local spot to add to your weekend list of things to do!
For this upcoming season, researchers at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center launched a #RespectTheLocals campaign to raise awareness for nesting and hatching sea turtles in Palm Beach County. The Center actively monitors and protects one of the most densely nested beaches in the world. You can keep up with the sea turtle nest count daily on their website.
As the mamas return, it’s important for local beachgoers to be mindful of our nesting friends. Here are a few helpful reminders for the 2021 nesting season:
- Keep Your Distance – Never approach or touch a nesting sea turtle. Stay out of sight, and especially keep all forms of light – including your cell phone and camera flash – from the turtles.
- Fill In Your Holes – After a day of fun, be sure to knock down your castles and fill in any holes that emerging baby sea turtles could fall into or get stuck!
- Refrain From Certain Recreation – Bonfires can be detrimental to nests underneath them. Balloon releases ultimately end up in our oceans and are fatally consumed by our turtles and other wildlife. Be sure to remove all litter and trash so our turtles don’t eat them while nesting on our beaches.
Remember – if you see any baby turtles trying to make it to the shore, usually you shouldn’t get involved to help them. The Marinelife Center advises beachgoers to leave any exposed eggs and nests untouched; disoriented hatchlings should be brought to the Center’s 24-hour hatchling rescue cooler, which is located at the entrance of the center. Threatened and endangered hatchlings should be transported with extreme care, in a bucket with damp sand and no water, to prevent accidental drowning.
Let’s do our part to protect and respect our local sea turtle residents!