A Turtle’s Journey: Gulf Islands National Seashore welcomes first sea turtle nest of 2021

A Turtle's Journey

GULF BREEZE, Fla. (WKRG) — Get ready for hatchlings! The Gulf Islands National Sea Shore (GUIS) says loggerhead sea turtle nests were found this week.

Two nests were discovered and marked, one in Fort Pickens and another in Perdido Key.

The best way to help sea turtles nesting on the Gulf Coast is to watch your light pollution, and do not leave holes on the beach.

The GUIS sent out the following:

Each year, between May and October, the seashore provides ideal conditions for sea turtle nesting. Several species of sea turtles to include loggerhead, Kemp’s ridley, and green sea turtles’ nest within the seashore. During the 2020 nesting season, a total of 59 nest were discovered.

The main factor that impacts nesting sea turtles at GUIS is artificial lighting.

“Adult and hatchling sea turtles can easily become disoriented by artificial light sources like flashlights, headlights, and sky glow from neighboring cityscapes,” said Jennifer Manis, GUIS biologist. “Artificial light draws turtles away from the Gulf of Mexico and inland. These disoriented turtles then often die from dehydration, predators, or vehicle strikes.”

By turning off excess outdoor lights and installing wildlife friendly lighting fixtures, visitors and locals can protect both nesting and hatching sea turtles. If you see a sea turtle at night, keep your distance and turn all lights off.

Visitors can help promote the “lights out” campaign by displaying the park’s free sea turtle magnet that can be picked up at any GUIS entry station.

Park staff and volunteers are monitoring park beaches daily for nesting and hatching activity as the season progresses.  For more information about sea turtles at GUIS visit http://www.nps.gov/guis/learn/nature/seaturtle-species.htm

MORE FROM A TURTLE’S JOURNEY

For more information about sea turtles at GUIS click here.

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