Treasure Coast Essay
10:01 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Good year for sea turtles

It looks like this will be a good year for sea turtles on the Treasure Coast.  The nesting season began on March 1st and continues until September 15th.  As of July 1st, researchers counted more than 6100 nests on our beaches, compared with about 4800 last year.  More than 60 percent of the nests were made by loggerheads, so named because of their large head.  They are the most common sea turtle in Florida.  The others were made by green turtles and leatherbacks.  Only about one in 5,000 hatchlings makes it to adulthood.  The problem is predators – crabs, birds, raccoons, coyotes, fish and, of course, humans.  Loggerheads and green turtles are listed as threatened but not endangered.  Leatherbacks – which can weigh up to 2,000 pounds – are endangered, meaning they could disappear from the Earth in the near future.  The best way to view sea turtles is at night with a state ranger or other trained guide.   When you are on the beach at night without a guide, don’t use a flashlight – it can disorient the turtles – and don’t make a noise.  Don’t bother the mother turtles or their hatchlings.  And do NOT bring a dog.  Let’s do our part to ensure the survival of the beloved sea turtles.  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.