Boca Raton Records 1,394 Sea Turtle Nests This Season
BOCA RATON, FL (Boca Post) (Copyright © 2023) — Boca Raton’s Sea Turtle Conservation Team reports that record-breaking 1,394 sea turtle nests have been recorded this season.
The Sea Turtle Conservation Team at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center at Boca Raton has achieved a remarkable milestone this season by marking a record breaking number of sea turtle nests on Boca Raton’s beautiful beaches. A total of 1,394! “The record- breaking number of nests on our beaches this season is a testament to over 50 years of conservation efforts in our community.”, says Leanne Welch, Manager of the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton.
Under the leadership of David Anderson, the current Sea Turtle Conservation Coordinator, this dedicated team has been diligently monitoring and studying sea turtle nesting activity on our beaches since 1977.
In Florida’s eastern coast, the official sea turtle nesting season runs from March 1 to October 31 every year. Boca Raton’s committed Sea Turtle Conservation team diligently starts their mornings at sunrise during this period to ensure that each nest is properly marked and safeguarded. Leatherback, Loggerhead and Green Sea Turtles consistently choose our shores as their egg laying sites. Throughout the nesting season, the team conducts daily surveys along our city’s five miles of pristine beaches in search of new nests. They meticulously mark these nests with stakes and signage to ensure their protection until the turtles hatch.
The City of Boca Raton has always been at the forefront of championing conservation efforts for our precious natural environment. Boca Raton has implemented various policies, initiatives and outreach programs that actively support coastal ecosystems both on our barrier island and mainland.
Through engaging public education initiatives such as Gumbo Limbo’s Sea Turtle Hatchling Releases and Turtle Walks, our community has an incredible opportunity to learn more about these endangered animals. They can witness them in their natural habitat while also gaining knowledge on how best to protect them.
Sea Turtle Nesting Explained
During turtle nesting season, Boca Raton’s Sea Turtle Conservation Team carefully documents all nests and instances of “false crawls,” which are non nesting emergences, using GPS coordinates. Newly discovered nests are marked off with stakes and accompanied by signs to ensure the safety of the eggs throughout their incubation period.
Each morning, the team meticulously inspects every nest for signs of predators or other potential issues. After approximately two months, indications that a nest has hatched start to appear! Usually at night, around a hundred baby sea turtles energetically make their way towards the water, leaving behind delicate tracks on the sand. Three days following a nest’s hatching event, the team carries out an excavation to assess its success and takes inventory of its contents. This meticulous counting and recording process contributes to monitoring sea turtle populations statewide.
Any live hatchlings that are discovered during these excavations are carefully transported back to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center and released onto the beach under cover of darkness.
Sadly, just around one in every 1,000 turtles manage to survive until they reach adulthood. If the hatchlings fail to reach the ocean fast enough, they can succumb to dehydration. Further, the young turtles face threats from birds, crabs and various other animals that prey on them.
Interested in learning more about our sea turtles? The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center organizes many educational programs, including one called Turtle Walk and Hatchling Release, providing an excellent opportunity for the public to gain knowledge about these endangered creatures. These programs also allow participants to observe these animals up close in their natural habitat, fostering a deeper connection with them.