Watch Out For Sea Turtle Nests

If you’ve been to the beach in South Florida recently then perhaps you have noticed a turtle nest or two recently. Its that time of year when we need to keep an eye out for the sea turtles we share our beaches with. Several species of sea turtles come to South Florida every year to nest and if you’ve spent any time on our beaches during the summer you have certainly seen areas on the beach fenced off to warn us of these very vulnerable nesting zones.

The Leatherbacks are the first to arrive in March, followed by our most common species the Loggerhead Turtle which joins us in April. The Green Sea Turtles start arriving in May and June. Ridley and Hawksbill turtles also visit our beaches in smaller numbers. The nesting season continues through the end of the September with peak season for Loggerheads being late June, early July.

Leatherback sea turtle hatching

Leatherback sea turtle hatching

2014 Florida Sea Turtle Nesting Survey Highlights:

  • In 2014 loggerhead nest counts were slightly higher than in 2013, but nest numbers are still down from the peak loggerhead season in 1998.
  • Surveyors counted 641 leatherback nests on core index beaches in 2014 reaching a new record for Florida.
  • Green turtle nest counts were much lower than the previous year. Low numbers in 2014 were expected, however, because green turtles set two consecutive record highs in 2011 and 2013.
  • View more survey results here: http://myfwc.com/research/wildlife/sea-turtles/nesting/beach-survey-totals/

 

FACT: Loggerhead Sea Turtles are the most common to nest in South Florida with almost 20,000 nests counted during the 2013 season between Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

 

Fun Tip: If you want to learn more about sea turtle nesting season you need to visit the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton. Located in the heart of Florida’s sea turtle nesting zone, Gumbo Limbo monitors more than 600 nests a year and releases over 6,000 stranded hatchlings each season.

 Other Links and Resources:

Adopt a sea turtle and learn more about local conservation efforts at the National Save the Turtle Foundation in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.
http://www.savetheseaturtle.org

Learn more about sea turtles at Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_turtle

Broward County Natural Resources Planning and Management:
http://www.broward.org/NaturalResources/BeachAndMarine/SeaTurtles/Pages/default.aspx

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