Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Start of the 2010 Sea Turtle Nesting Season

May 1 marked the beginning of the 2010 sea turtle nesting season. The past few months have been rough for them. Due to an unseasonably cold winter, the wildlife commission rescued nearly 5,000 cold-stunned sea turtles, with 80% surviving to be released. Twelve of those were brought in from the waters around our islands, with all but one surviving. The loss of turtles from the cold weather isn't expected to have a serious affect on the nesting season for several years because most were juvenile.

Now oil leaking from a sunken oil rig in the Gulf is posing more hazards. We all need to do what we can to help. Limit the use of lights near the beach, and leave the sand without holes, sandcastles or beach furniture.

Last year, during the 2009 season, Sanibel and Captiva had a total of 15,236 hatchlings. That was a pretty good season for us, but the rest of Florida didn't do as well, which made 2009 the fourth lowest year for Loggerhead nesting season on record. It was however, the best year recorded in Florida for Leatherback nesting. It was cause for celebration last year when one Leatherback nest was found here on Sanibel.

Even with all the problems awaiting the sea turtles, we are all hopeful that 2010 will be a good nesting season. I know I am excited to begin with my first 'turtle walk' in the morning. :)

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