So far, 2019 has been a wonderful nesting year. Our numbers are up from last year at this time and we're hoping it continues! We've also had our first hatchlings emerge from their nests and head toward the ocean. As July 4th approaches, we'd like to send out a friendly reminder about holiday festivities that can negatively affect our friends, the sea turtles... see the section below for some helpful hints. ~ The Volusia/Flagler Turtle Patrol
Fireworks are Scary & Beach Trash can Kill!
We're just having a little fun, how could it hurt? Here's how...
FIREWORKS are a big no-no and illegal in Volusia County on the beach. The sounds and lights can scare both mama turtles coming to shore to nest and baby hatchlings emerging from the nest. Mama turtles may decide not to come to shore and 'drop' their eggs in the ocean, leaving the baby turtles to drown before they even stand a chance.
TRASH on the beach after holiday celebrations can be deadly. Once festivities are over and we are tucked safely in our beds, mama turtles are coming to shore and baby hatchlings are making their way to the ocean. As they travel on the beaches, they must traverse the obstacles we've left behind, making their job harder. Mama turtle can get trapped in lawn furniture, and baby turtles can get trapped in/on discarded objects such as soda cans and firework debris. Once the trash is taken out to sea by the tides, the turtles may think that it's food (a plastic bag looks a lot like a jellyfish to a turtle). Ingesting plastic or getting tangled in it can be deadly.
FLASHLIGHTS on the beach have similar effects... they confuse baby turtles who have hatched and are following the moon that leads them to the ocean. They must swim all the way to the Sargasso Sea for refuge/safety from predators. Time following a flashlight on the beach can waste precious energy for a very teeny turtle. Flashlights may also spook mama turtles and keep them from coming to shore.
BONFIRES are lights, too. During nesting season, what seems like a fun night for us may turn into a dangerous/deadly night for our turtle friends.
Please do your part to help by spreading the word to your friends and family. Together we can help the sea turtles have a happy Independence Day as well!
If you come across a nesting sea turtle on our beaches, please keep your distance and do not disturb her. She may become spooked and return to the water before laying her eggs.
If you find a sick or injured sea turtle, please do not place it back in the water. Call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) for assistance.