First Sea Turtle Nest Hatches at Gulf Islands National Seashore

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August 03, 2017
Gulf Islands News Release

Release Date:  August 3, 2017

Contacts:          Kelly Irick, Kelly_Irick@nps.gov, 850-934-2604

First Sea Turtle Nest Hatches at Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Breeze, Fla. –Biologists at Gulf Islands National Seashore have discovered the first sea turtle nest hatching of the 2017 season in the Perdido Key Area.  Evidence of the hatching was discovered by park staff early Thursday morning.  The nest was laid by a loggerhead sea turtle in late May 2017.

In celebration of the beginning of hatching season, the national seashore is excited to offer Baby Sea Turtle Magnets.  These special edition magnets are available this year only.  Beginning Friday, August 4, visitors may stop by the Fort Pickens and Perdido Key Entrance Stations, the Fort Pickens Museum, and Park Headquarters at Naval Live Oaks to pick up this free magnet (limit one per vehicle).  Displaying turtle magnets on vehicles throughout the area reminds every one of the importance of helping young sea turtles survive and that it is the time of year to turn off outdoor lights at night.

Each year, beginning in mid-May and ending in late summer, the seashore provides nesting habitat for several species of sea turtle, most commonly the loggerhead sea turtle but Kemp’s ridley, green and on occasion leatherback sea turtles do nest within the seashore.    Adult and hatchling sea turtles are distracted or disoriented by man-made artificial light sources which draw them away from the Gulf of Mexico and inland toward the artificial lights. These disoriented turtles often die from dehydration, are preyed upon by coyotes, ghost crabs, or sometimes crawl onto roads or parking lots where they are run over by cars.

By turning off excess outdoor lights at night and installing turtle friendly lights, you can help to protect nesting and hatching sea turtles.  “If we all work together, we can ensure that sea turtles will continue to have safe dark places to nest on our beaches,” said Superintendent Daniel Brown. Park staff will monitor beaches for nesting and hatching activity as the season progresses. If you see a sea turtle at night, keep your distance and keep all lights off (including flash lights and flash photography).

About Gulf Islands National Seashore: Created in 1971, the national seashore stretches 160 miles along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida and Mississippi, and includes barrier islands, maritime forests, historic forts, bayous, and marine habitat. Visit us at www.nps.gov/guis, on Facebook www.facebook.com/GulfIslandsNPS, Twitter www.twitter.com/GulfIslandsNPS, Instagram www.Instagram.com/GulfIslandsNPS

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice and Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice.
-NPS-

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Public Affairs
Gulf Islands National Seashore
1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway
Gulf Breeze, FL 32563
850-934-2600 (HQ)
228-230-4100 (MS)