Hurricane Irene has many of you wondering what you can do to help our nesting sea turtles and hatchlings in response to the storm. Here are the top ways you can help, as well as some photos captured today and further guidance.
Top Three Ways to Help
1. Educate yourself on what to do if you see hatchlings or unhatched eggs on the beach by reading this blog post.
2. Come to Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Emergency Beach Cleanup tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. to help pick up litter churned up by the storm (location 14200 US Highway One, Juno Beach). This will help make sure hatchlings have a safe beach to crawl on and a clean ocean to swim in.
3. With a $35 donation, you can “Adopt” hatchlings at marinelife.org/adopt
Unfortunately after a nest is laid, there is only about a 24 hour window in which it can be relocated. Any movement of the eggs after that time, as well as exposure to sun and water, will kill the hatchling inside. Beachgoers are advised to leave eggs on the beach. As part of the natural circle of life, these unhatched eggs will be a great nutrient source for other predators. Sea turtles have nested during Hurricane Season for millions of years. This is a natural occurrence, but we understand it’s difficult for many people to watch.
If a hatchling is found on the beach, one of two things should happen. If the hatchling is very active and able to crawl down the beach, please allow it to do so on its own. While the large waves may seem dangerous, these tough little hatchlings are adapted to handle them. If a hatchling is lethargic or not moving, please call the Loggerhead Marinelife Center or Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. If help is not immediately available, please place hatchlings in a cooler or bucket with damp sand (no water) and bring it immediately to Loggerhead Marinelife Center where it will be treated at the center’s on-site hospital accordingly (14200 US Highway One, Juno Beach, FL 33408). For after hour hatchling drop offs, we provide a large cooler at the front of the building that hatchlings may be placed in.
If a hatchling is deceased, either leave it where it is or bury it on the beach. While sad to see, this is a natural occurrence and leaving the hatchlings on the beach will allow the natural cycle to continue.