STAFF REPORT – Despite the red tide situation, sea turtle nest numbers are continuing to grow, hatchlings are making their way to the sea, and nest counts are up from this time last year.
As of August 24, the Boca Grande Sea Turtle Association reported 687 Caretta caretta (loggerhead) turtle nests on the island. There were 585 reported false crawls (when a turtle comes up onto the beach but does not lay a nest). One Chelonia mydas (green) turtle nest has been reported so far this year.
If you’re on the beach and see what you think is a red tide-intoxicated baby sea turtle, the best thing to do in that situation is to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) hotline (888) 404-FWCC and report it. FWC will then contact the BGSTA to pick it up. This allows FWC to track and document every element of the stranding, and they will work with the rehabilitation agencies to get the hatchling to the place that is most appropriate. It is not advised that you touch a hatchling, but if you think it is in distress, gently place it in a bucket with some damp sand, cover it with a towel, and wait for a volunteer to pick it up.
Turtle patrol volunteers would like to remind everyone to keep their pets on leashes,
If you come across a sea turtle that is stranded or dead, or if you see someone disturbing a nest or turtle, call the FWC at (888) 404-FWCC.
Go to MyFWC.com/SeaTurtle for more information on Florida’s sea turtles, and click on “Research,” then “Nesting” for more data on sea turtle nesting.
The BGSTA is actively looking for volunteers. Training and supplies are provided. If you’re available a few mornings a week to assist, go to facebook.com/seaturtleawareness or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more details.
The Boca Grande Sea Turtle Association is committed to promoting education and awareness of sea turtles and proper beach protocols during nesting season.
Every year the Association produces and distributes materials designed to help visitors understand the importance of keeping the beach flat, clean and dark at night. Volunteers hand out reminder magnets, window clingers explaining beach rules (for beachfront rentals), brochures and children’s activity books.
If you’d like to donate, you can send a check to BGSTA, PO Box 478, Boca Grande, FL 33921.