Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online newspaper

Florida News

Love is in the Air for Florida Sea Turtles 

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - It's a "baby boom" year for Florida sea turtles.

Around the state, wildlife experts are pleasantly surprised by the number of sea turtle nests popping up on beaches. Nest counts are 50 percent higher statewide.

Eggs stolen from a nest in Sarasota. Photo: Nature's Crusaders

"We don't always know why they make decisions to nest. Of course, one season does not a 'population' make."

Witherington says some of the nesting could be attributed to greater availability of food for the turtles. When wildlife researchers find nests on the beach, they rope them off so they're easily seen and ask the public to leave them undisturbed. The nesting period for sea turtles in Florida runs from March through October.

Photo: Rebecca Wilson

Elizabeth Fleming, a Florida representative of Defenders of Wildlife, says it's also important to reduce artificial lighting in beach areas at night. After they hatch, turtles instinctively go toward the brightest light, which on natural beaches is the moon's reflection on the water. Street lights can prompt hatchlings and their mothers to go the wrong direction.

"Sea turtles get disoriented. The females, instead of going back to the water, they will head up beyond the dunes and sometimes into a parking lot - even they've been run over in the street."

Florida is known to biologists as a sea turtle haven. Witherington says 90 percent of nesting in the United States takes place in the Sunshine State.

"The significance of Florida to the world's sea turtles can't be overstated. Florida is very important. We are the sea turtle state."

Loggerhead turtles make up most of the Florida population, but the numbers of green and leatherback turtles also are growing.

Photos added by the Observer

Photo in hand: the dailygreen.com

Comments  (to add a comment go here)

Meeting Calendar
No need to be confused - Find links to agendas and where your participation is welcome.
Make a comment • click here •
All comments are displayed at the end of the article and are moderated.