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Loggerhead Marinelife Center Shares Tips For Keeping Our Sea Turtles Safe During Nesting Season In Jupiter

Sea turtle nesting season is officially underway, and that means we should once again take caution as we share our shorelines with these endangered sea creatures.

Nesting season runs from March through the end of October, but it kicked off a bit early this year with the first leatherback sea turtle nest of the season found in Juno Beach in late February. The nestconsidered to be the first in Florida and likely the United States —is the earliest documented by Loggerhead Marinelife Center in the area since 2006.

Coming off a record-setting sea turtle nesting season in the Jupiter and Juno Beach areas in 2015, we're hoping for another strong showing this year. And while that's mostly up to the sea turtles, beachgoers can help do their part as well. 

Here are a few tips from Loggerhead Marinelife Center on how to protect the sea turtles that nest on our beaches:

 

1. Don’t interact with or disrupt a nesting sea turtle.

Observe the turtle from behind and from a distance.

(Image courtesy Loggerhead Marinelife Center)

 

2. Don’t use shovels to dig on the beach during nesting season.

Fill in holes in the sand, knock down sand castles, and throw away debris which may obstruct a sea turtle’s path to and from the ocean.

(Image via Flickr/Erik Hersman)

 

3. Don't use lighting on the beach at night.

Avoid flashlights, lanterns, flash photography and cell phones at night. Where needed, install sea turtle-friendly lighting, such as red, amber and orange lights. 

(Image via Flickr/Florida Fish and Wildlife) 

 

4. Don’t take or touch empty egg shells, or exposed, un-hatched eggs.

Handling sea turtle eggs can introduce bacteria into the nest or harm the eggs.

(Image courtesy Loggerhead Marinelife Center)

 

5. Don’t touch hatchlings on their way to the ocean. 

It is illegal to harm or harass sea turtles, their nests or hatchlings. Sea turtles are protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973 and Florida Statute Chapter 370.

(Image via Flickr/Jeroen Looyé)

 

6. Seek help for any lost hatchlings.

Look out for disoriented hatchlings on trails and roads near the beach. Bring weak or confused hatchlings to Loggerhead Marinelife Center, 24 hours a day, at 14200 U.S. Highway 1, Juno Beach.

(Image via Flickr/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region)

 

(Lead image via Flickr/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region)