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Date of Issue: April 30, 2008

'Tis the season - for turtle nesting

4-30-08/turtle-bucket.jpg
Loggerhead hatchlings left these shells, found in a nest on Anna Maria Island in the summer of 2007, for the Gulf of Mexico. Studies show that when they are of adult age, the females will return to Anna Maria Island or its vicinity to leave their own eggs in nests. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

During sea turtle nesting and hatchling season, which begins May 1 and continues through Oct. 31, state officials, scientists and volunteers along Florida’s coastlines work to collect data and protect the animals.

Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch, under two state permits held by executive director Suzi Fox, patrols the Island beaches. To the south, Longboat Key Turtle Watch and Mote Marine Laboratory volunteers patrol the beaches.

The turtles’ protectors encourage local residents and volunteers to follow a list of seasonal precautions.

Do:

  • Remain quiet and observe from a distance if you encounter a nesting turtle or emerging nest.
  • Shield or turn off outdoor lights visible on the beach from May through October.
  • Close drapes after dark and put beach furniture far back from the water.
  • Fill in holes on the beach that may entrap hatchlings on their way to the water and tide line.
  • Place trash in its proper place.
  • Do not:
  • Approach nesting turtles or hatchlings leaving nests, make noise or shine light at turtles.
  • Encourage a turtle to move while nesting or pick up hatchlings that have emerged.
  • Use fireworks or leave trash on the beach.
Source: Mote Marine Laboratory

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