Showing posts with label Sea Turtle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sea Turtle. Show all posts

Thursday, March 1, 2018

2018 Florida Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins


March 1 is the official start of the sea turtle nesting season.
 
From now through the end of October, three different species of sea turtle will land on Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coast beaches to lay their eggs. 

MARCH – JULY: Leatherback sea turtles begin to come ashore from March through July to lay their eggs. Florida is the only state in the continental U.S. where leatherback sea turtles regularly nest. With the exception of a few nests on the west coast, leatherbacks nest almost exclusively on the east coast of Florida. In fact, about 50 percent of leatherback nesting occurs in Palm Beach County.

APRIL – SEPTEMBER: Loggerhead sea turtles typically nest in Florida from April through September. In the United States, 90 percent of all loggerhead nesting occurs in Florida. The majority of this nesting takes place on the east coast of Florida. In fact, in Brevard County there were 23,457 loggerhead nests in 2014.

JUNE – SEPTEMBER: Green sea turtle nesting in Florida occurs from June through late September with the highest concentration of nests along Florida’s east coast – but green turtle nests have been found in every coastal county of the Sunshine State. 

People can help sea turtles that nest on Florida’s beaches at night by leaving the beach as natural as possible. To do this, beachgoers should remove beach furniture and other obstacles before sunset each day.

  “Anyone spending time on Florida’s beaches can do something to help save Florida’s threatened and endangered sea turtles. People’s actions on the beach can have a positive impact on whether our loggerhead, leatherback and green sea turtles nest successfully,” said Dr. Robbin Trindell, who leads the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) sea turtle management program.


Trenches and holes left by a sand artist celebrating Earth Day created a hazard for endangered nesting sea turtles in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
“Whether you are a resident or a visitor, remember to take beach furniture, boats and canopies off Florida’s sandy beaches at night so these items won’t block sea turtles attempting to nest,” Trindell said. “When departing at the end of the day, beach visitors should fill any holes dug in the sand so nesting and hatchling turtles don’t become trapped. Please be careful not to disturb nesting sea turtles by getting too close, shining lights on them or taking flash photos.”

Exactly when sea turtle nesting season starts depends on where you are in Florida. While it begins in March on the Atlantic coast, it starts later in the spring in late April or May along the Gulf coast. Yet wherever you are in the Sunshine State, what you do on the beach can make a significant difference on whether sea turtles nest successfully.

Florida hosts nearly 90 percent of loggerhead nests within this species’ northern Atlantic Ocean population, the state plays an important role in its conservation.

Report sick, injured, entangled or dead sea turtles to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline, 1-888-404-3922 (FWCC).

Photo credit: FWC

Saturday, November 18, 2017

2017 Green Sea Turtle Nests Hit Record High In Florida


The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced a record year for the number of green sea turtle nests in Florida. FWC staff documented approximately 39,000 green sea turtle nests, based on 27 Florida index beaches used to assess nesting trends.


Nearly 30 years ago, only 464 green sea turtle nests were recorded on the 200 miles of beaches that are part of the Index Nesting Beach Survey. By 2011, the count was up to 10,701 green sea turtle nests; in 2013, it was 25,553 nests; and in 2015, it was about 28,000. The counts on index beaches represent about 68 percent of green sea turtle nests statewide. Green sea turtles nest more abundantly every other year, which contributes to the two-year spikes in their nesting numbers in Florida.

 Last year, the green sea turtles that nest on Florida beaches were reclassified from ‘endangered’ to ‘threatened’ under the federal Endangered Species Act.”

Green Sea Turtle Nest Count History

Green turtles, named for their green body fat, were valued by European settlers in the New World for their meat, hide, eggs, and “calipee” (the fat attached to the lower shell that formed the basis of the popular green turtle soup). Merchants learned that the sea turtles could be kept alive by turning them on their backs in a shaded area. This discovery made it possible to ship fresh turtles to overseas markets. By 1878, 15,000 green turtles a year were shipped from Florida and the Caribbean to England.

The final 2017 sea turtle nesting numbers from the FWC’s more comprehensive Statewide Nesting Beach Survey, covering 800 miles of Florida coastline, will be available in early 2018. Preliminary data, based on the recently completed Index Nesting Beach Survey, indicates the trend for green sea turtle nesting has experienced significant increases over the past 27 years.

“Today’s news is great for Florida and shows that our efforts to conserve Florida’s natural resources are helping the sea turtle population thrive,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott. “Florida’s beaches not only attract millions of visitors but are also home to abundant wildlife, like sea turtles, which is why my Securing Florida’s Future budget builds on our past investments and proposes a record $100 million for beach restoration. I am proud of FWC’s hard work to help our wildlife, and look forward to continuing to see record nesting for years to come.”

Photo credit: NOAA

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Hurricane Irma Washes Away Thousands of Florida Sea Turtle Nests


BREVARD COUNTY, Florida – Hurricane Irma took a devastating toll on incubating sea turtle nests in the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, one of the most important loggerhead and green turtle nesting sites in the world, according to new estimates from the UCF Marine Turtle Research Group.


Researchers found significant dune erosion that swept away some nests and exposed the eggs of others. It was a record year for green turtle nesting along the refuge’s beaches in southern Brevard County, but storm surge due to Hurricane Irma destroyed many unhatched loggerhead and green turtle nests. UCF researchers estimate that of nests laid through the end of September, more than half of the season’s green turtle nests and a quarter of loggerhead nests were lost.

“Last year with Hurricane Matthew, we lucked out because it was a low green turtle year,” said Kate Mansfield, assistant professor and director of the UCF Marine Turtle Research Group, noting that green turtles typically have alternating high and low nesting years. “This year was an extraordinarily exciting year for green turtle nesting, breaking all previous records within the refuge and continuing the conservation success story for the species. Unfortunately, we had another big hurricane this year, highlighting the need for continued conservation efforts in the area.”

Green turtles set a new record in 2017, laying 15,744 nests in the sands of the 13 miles of the Brevard County portion of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge monitored by UCF. An estimated 8,830 of those were lost to the storm. Green turtles nest later in the season than other species, so many of their eggs hadn’t hatched by the time Irma hit. Some 56 percent of total green nests were lost, an estimated 81 percent of those that were still incubating.

Along the same stretch of beach, loggerheads laid 9,690 nests in 2017, but most had already hatched when Irma passed through the region. Still, an estimated 2,290 loggerhead nests were lost. That’s 24 percent of the total loggerhead nests and 91 percent of those that were still incubating when hurricane-driven storm surge came ashore.

The refuge is located at the northern extent of dense leatherback nesting in Florida, but the species nest in far fewer numbers, laying just 23 nests in 2017 within the portion of the refuge monitored by UCF. But they nest earlier than greens and loggerheads, and all of the leatherback nests had finished incubating before the hurricane.

UCF also monitors another 16.4 miles of beaches north of the wildlife refuge, at Patrick Air Force Base and in central Brevard County. Considerably fewer nests are laid there than in the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, but the numbers are still high compared to many other parts of the country. On those beaches, an estimated 642 of 2,251 green turtle nests and 831 of 6,229 loggerhead nests were lost due to the hurricane.

The UCF Marine Turtle Research Group also found evidence that some green turtle hatchlings have emerged since the hurricane. And some turtles have continued to come ashore and lay new nests. Within the wildlife refuge, 466 new green turtle nests and eight new loggerhead nests were laid in September following Irma. Along the other UCF-monitored beaches, 72 new green nests and three new loggerhead nests were laid.

Still, the nests aren’t out of danger.

“Green turtles are still nesting, but recent extremely high tides have likely wiped out many of those new nests, too,” said Erin Seney, an assistant research scientist with the UCF group. “The good news is that the nesting habits of sea turtles do protect them from large-scale nest loss and make them more resilient to this kind of event. They lay multiple nests per nesting season, roughly every other year for 30 years or more.”

Article source: UCF / Mark Schlueb. Image credit: FWC

Friday, August 18, 2017

Rare Two-Headed Sea Turtle Discovered

two-headed Loggerhead sea turtle
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – Researchers with the University of Central Florida Marine Turtle Research Group discovered a rare two-headed Loggerhead sea turtle while conducting sea turtle nest surveys along Brevard County beaches.


The condition is called Dicephalic parapagus, a rare form of partial twinning where there are two heads side by side on one torso.

Although rare, two-headed sea turtles are not unheard of. In 2012, a two-headed sea turtle hatchling was discovered on Jupiter Island in Broward County, Florida.

Loggerhead sea turtles typically nest in Florida from April through September. In the United States, 90 percent of all loggerhead nesting occurs in Florida. The majority of the Florida nesting takes place on the east coast of Florida. In fact, in Brevard County there were 23,457 loggerhead nests in 2014.

This is not the only rare find made by the UCF Marine Turtle Research Group while conducting sea turtle surveys on Florida’s Space Coast.

In 2016, the researchers found a rare hybrid sea turtle caused by inter-species mating between a green sea turtle and a loggerhead sea turtle in Port Canaveral, Florida.

Photo credit: L. Rittenburg, UCFMTRG intern

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Last Lowest Tide Of 2017 To See Satellite Beach Reef Rock


SATELLITE BEACH, Florida – The last lowest tide of 2017 will occur on Saturday, June 24, 2017, which will be a great opportunity to explore the reef made up of rare sabellariid worm rock in Satellite Beach, Florida, before it is covered with beach renourishment sand in late 2018 or 2019.


Saturday’s very low tide is due to a New Moon which is the counterpart of the Full Moon that brought ‘King Tides’ earlier in June. The -1.08 feet low tide will occur at 2:35 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

But don’t worry if you can’t make it to the beach on Saturday. Another, slightly less low tide (-0.99 feet), will occur on Sunday, June 25, 2017, at 3:28 p.m.

The rare reef’s diverse ecosystem is home to juvenile fish, green sea turtles, macro-algae, and mollusks.

Work is already underway on a barge located just offshore to lay down an artificial reef further out in deeper waters to replace the natural reef that will be covered up with sand during a $42 million beach renourishment project.

To explore the reef rock, free public parking is available at Pelican Beach Park, 1525 Highway A1A in Satellite Beach, Florida. There is also some public parking available on Shell Street located just south of Pelican Beach Park.


Photo and video credit: Brevard Times

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Brevard County Sheriff’s Deputy Saves Sea Turtle At Port Canaveral


PORT CANAVERAL, Florida – On the morning of Wednesday, March 1, 2017, Brevard County Sheriff's Office Corporal Evan Hightower responded to a report of a sea turtle in distress near the rocks at Jetty Park in Port Canaveral, Florida. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

SeaWorld Releases Four Rehabilitated Sea Turtles


BREVARD COUNTY, Florida – After several months of specialized care, four loggerhead sea turtles are back home in the ocean thanks to SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Care Team and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The turtles were released Wednesday morning at Canaveral National Seashore in Florida.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

2017 Florida Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins


March 1 is the official start of the sea turtle nesting season. People can help sea turtles that nest on Florida’s beaches at night by leaving the beach as natural as possible. To do this, beachgoers should remove beach furniture and other obstacles before sunset each day.
 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission: ‘Hands off!’ is best policy for sea turtle hatchlings


Sea turtle hatchlings are digging out of their nests and clambering toward the ocean in September and October, the last months of Florida’s sea turtle nesting season.
 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Florida Fish & Wildlife Monitors Tropical Storm Colin’s Damage To Sea Turtle Nests

A sea turtle nest marked after Tropical Storm Colin hit Florida
Sea turtle nests marked on Cocoa Beach, Florida after Tropical Storm Colin. Credit: Brevard Times

TALLAHASSEE, Florida – In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Colin, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is assessing damage to sea turtle nests along Florida’s coasts. High water from the storm flooded many nests from Northwest Florida through the Southwest Gulf Coast.
 

FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley visited St. George Island on Florida’s Gulf Coast 75 miles southwest of Tallahassee, one of the areas where sea turtle nests were most impacted by the storm.  

“This is a top priority for the agency,” said Wiley. “We want Florida’s sea turtles to have another successful nesting season and we will continue to work with FWC’s Marine Turtle Permit Holders to help make that happen.”

From now through the end of October, three different species of sea turtle will land on Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coast beaches to lay their eggs during the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Sea turtles have a natural nesting strategy that accommodates for natural events like storms.  

MARCH – JULY: Leatherback sea turtles begin to come ashore from March through July to lay their eggs. Florida is the only state in the continental U.S. where leatherback sea turtles regularly nest. 

APRIL – SEPTEMBER: Loggerhead sea turtles typically nest in Florida from April through September. In the United States, 90 percent of all loggerhead nesting occurs in Florida.

JUNE – SEPTEMBER: Green sea turtle nesting in Florida occurs from June through late September with the highest concentration of nests along Florida’s east coast – but green turtle nests have been found in every coastal county of the Sunshine State. 

FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley on St. George Island with a volunteer. Credit: FWC

The FWC will be coordinating with FWC Marine Turtle Permit Holders on affected beaches to determine the level of impact on the nests. The permit holders are volunteers who are permitted to monitor and observe Florida turtle nesting sites. Damaged nests will be re-marked so that permit holders can determine if they hatch.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Thunder On Cocoa Beach Super Boat Race Avoids Sea Turtles

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

COCOA BEACH and PORT CANAVERAL, Florida — Event organizers for the 2016 “Thunder on Cocoa Beach” super boat race addressed concerns many locals have about potential harm to sea turtles on the beach and in the ocean.
 
 

“Each year we work hand in hand with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society to ensure the safety of sea turtle nests and turtles in the waters off Cocoa Beach,” organizers wrote in their Facebook page.

During the month of May, both leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles are nesting along Brevard County’s beaches. Florida’s Space Coast has more loggerhead nests each year than anywhere else in the United States. Last year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission counted 23,977 Loggerhead nests on Brevard County beaches. 

“For the entire week leading up to the races we have spotters on the beach every morning looking for nests. If any are found they are marked and roped off. If the nests are in areas where the race event takes place we have a contingency plan in place to move the event setup as to not disturb the nests,” organizers wrote. 

In addition to leatherbacks and loggerheads, Kemps Ridley and green sea turtles inhabit the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Cocoa Beach and inside the mouth of Port Canaveral.

“During the races we have our “Turtle Spotters” in the air flying with Florida Air Tours and Super Boat International, in boats on the race course and on the beach,” wrote organizers. “If any turtles are on the race course before the races we will not begin until they are safely off the course. If any turtles are spotted during the races we will throw the caution flag and the boats will stop until the course is cleared. Neither of which has ever happened. Thanks to our dedicated Turtle Spotters, the staff at the Sea Turtle Preservation Society and our wonderful race fans there has never been an injured sea turtle or turtle nest in the history of Thunder On Cocoa Beach and we will work tirelessly each year to keep it that way.”


Thunder On Cocoa Beach Super Boat Race


Super Boat Race Time And Route


On May 15, 2016, the first super boat race start time is at noon, followed by a second race that begins at 2 p.m. The race route runs from the Cocoa Beach Pier to Lori Wilson Park. The race will also pass Fischer Park, and Shepard Park.

For more information, visit www.thunderoncocoabeach.com

Photo credits: Sea Turtle / FWC. SuperBoats / Brevard Times.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sea Turtle Rescued Off Cape Canaveral Air Force Station


CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – A loggerhead sea turtle was rescued from the beach along Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Wednesday.

The 45th Civil Engineer Squadron biologist staff Angy Chambers, Rachel Mandel and Rick Brust rescued a 175 pound loggerhead sea turtle just north of Space Launch Complex 37. 
 
 

The female loggerhead was found during a normal early season sea turtle nesting census being conducted by Mandel. The loggerhead was rescued because there was heavy growth of epibiota on her carapace which could indicate internal issues and ill health.

Chambers, Mandel and Brust rescued and kept the sea turtle in triage until she could be transported to Sea World for rehabilitation and hopefully a release back into the wild.

March 1 is the official start of the sea turtle nesting season. Leatherback sea turtles begin to come ashore from March through July to lay their eggs. Loggerhead sea turtles arrive a month later and typically nest in Florida from April through September. 

Brevard County, Florida has more loggerhead nests each year than anywhere else in the United States. Last year, FWC counted 23,977 Loggerhead nests on Brevard County beaches. 

Photo credit: USAF 45th Civil Engineer Squadron

Monday, April 18, 2016

Florida Man Celebrates Earth Day With Sand Art, Leaves Death Traps For Sea Turtles

Trenches and holes left by a sand artist celebrating Earth Day 2016 created a hazard for endangered nesting sea turtles in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

COCOA BEACH, Florida – Trenches and holes left over from an Earth Day sand sculpture event that can act as death traps for endangered sea turtle hatchlings sparked outrage among some Cocoa Beach, Florida residents on Monday.
 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

2016 Florida Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins


March 1 is the official start of the sea turtle nesting season. In addition to reducing coastal light pollution, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds people not to take cell phone flash photos of sea turtles on the beach at night, because that can interfere with nesting.

“It’s great that people are enjoying Florida’s beaches and are enthusiastic about our sea turtles,” said Dr. Robbin Trindell, who leads the FWC’s sea turtle management program. “However, most visitors to the beach don’t realize that any light on the beach at night poses a threat to these threatened and endangered animals. A nesting female may become frightened or disoriented by lights or a flash photo and return to the ocean without laying eggs. Lights on the beach at night also could interfere with adult or hatchling sea turtles trying to find the ocean after nesting or hatching.”

From now through the end of October, three different species of sea turtle will land on Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coast beaches to lay their eggs. 
 
 

MARCH – JULY: Leatherback sea turtles begin to come ashore from March through July to lay their eggs. Florida is the only state in the continental U.S. where leatherback sea turtles regularly nest. With the exception of a few nests on the west coast, leatherbacks nest almost exclusively on the east coast of Florida. In fact, about 50 percent of leatherback nesting occurs in Palm Beach County.

APRIL – SEPTEMBER: Loggerhead sea turtles typically nest in Florida from April through September. In the United States, 90 percent of all loggerhead nesting occurs in Florida. The majority of this nesting takes place on the east coast of Florida. In fact, in Brevard County there were 23,457 loggerhead nests in 2014.

JUNE – SEPTEMBER: Green sea turtle nesting in Florida occurs from June through late September with the highest concentration of nests along Florida’s east coast – but green turtle nests have been found in every coastal county of the Sunshine State. 


FWC asks that residents and visitors remember these turtle-friendly practices:

Remain at a distance from nesting sea turtles and hatchlings.

Remove chairs, canopies, boats and other items from the beach at night, because they block the movement of turtles and hatchlings.

Turn off or shield lights along the beach, in order to prevent nesting females or hatchlings from getting confused and going toward lights on land instead of the salt water, where they belong.

Avoid using lights on the beach at night. If you must have light, use a red LED flashlight, adjust cell phone screens to dark mode and don’t take flash photos.

Fill in holes in the sand at the end of the day, so nesting sea turtles and hatchlings don’t fall in and get stuck there at night.

Correctly dispose of fishing line, so it won’t entangle sea turtles and other animals.

Remember it is illegal to harm, harass or take sea turtles, their eggs and hatchlings, including getting too close to a nesting female.

Report sick, injured, entangled or dead sea turtles to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline, 1-888-404-3922 (FWCC).

Photo credit: FWC


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Off-Duty Florida Cops Save Leatherback Sea Turtle From Crab Trap

A Jacksonville Sheriff's Deputy saves a leatherback sea turtle entangled in a crab trap.
A Jacksonville Sheriff's Deputy saves a leatherback sea turtle entangled in a crab trap. Credit: Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Two off-duty Florida sheriff's deputies saved a nine-foot leatherback sea turtle two miles off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida on Monday.
 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Rare Albino Sea Turtle Discovered In Australia

QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA – A very rare albino green sea turtle hatchling was discovered on Castaways Beach in Queensland, Australia by sea turtle conservationists with the Coolum District Coast Care Group.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Rare Hybrid Sea Turtle Discovered On Florida Space Coast


Green Sea Turtle / Loggerhead Sea Turtle Hybrid

Researchers suspect that they have discovered a rare hybrid sea turtle as a result of inter-species mating between a green sea turtle and a loggerhead sea turtle. Credit:  University of Central Florida Marine Turtle Research Group via Facebook.


PORT CANAVERAL, Florida – Researchers with the University of Central Florida Marine Turtle Research Group suspect that they have discovered a rare hybrid sea turtle as a result of inter-species mating between a green sea turtle and a loggerhead sea turtle.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

SeaWorld Releases Sea Turtles Off Florida Beach

loggerhead sea turtle
Loggerhead sea turtle

BREVARD COUNTY, Florida –  On Wednesday morning, the SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team returned a 63-pound endangered loggerhead sea turtle measuring 23 inches long to its natural environment on Playalinda Beach at Canaveral National Seashore located off the east coast of Central Florida.  The large loggerhead spent more than 3-months at SeaWorld Orlando’s rehabilitation facility after a large fishing hook became embedded in its head.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Florida Surfer Saves Drowning Sea Turtle (VIDEO)



COCOA BEACH, Florida — A surfer came to the rescue of a loggerhead sea turtle that was tangled in fishing lines just south of the Cocoa Beach Pier this afternoon.
 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Florida Woman Apologizes For Squatting Over Sea Turtle


MELBOURNE BEACH, Florida – A Florida woman has taken to social media to apologize for photos that appear to show her harassing a sea turtle.