Sunday, June 13, 2010

Protecting our turtles

My thanks to Pamela Young with the National Park Service for sharing this photo with me.

Pamela was on duty June 4 at the Ft. Pickens campground office when the call came in about a disoriented Kemp's ridley sea turtle in the middle of Ft. Pickens Road. Pamela rushed to the site to guard the turtle until the Vickie Withington, a bio-tech, could get there and help the turtle back into the Gulf of Mexico. As we now know, the Kemp's ridley came back a few hours later and nested in the park.

So far this year, we have only had two sea turtles nests - one at Ft. Pickens and one on the east end of Pensacola Beach. Kemp's ridleys are the smallest of all the marine turtles -- reaching 75 - 100 lbs - and are on the endangered species list. It is also the only sea turtle that routinely nests (and hatches) during daylight hours. You may read more about Kemp's ridley sea turtles by clicking HERE. And you may compare them to a photo of the much larger Loggerhead turtle which nests on Pensacola Beach by clicking HERE.

Although we had a few Kemp's ridley nests last year, none of the eggs hatched. As some of you recall, we had better luck with them in 2008 and some of my blog readers were even able to attend a controlled release of the hatchlings. We don't know why the eggs were not viable in last year's nests, but now more than ever we are compelled to watch over our turtles and protect them as best we can.

There was no turtle activity today, but I was happy to see our beach was still clean. There was a lot of bird activity and I saw several dolphin swimming and feeding. I also saw a large ray feeding near the shoreline. If it hadn't been for all the boats on the horizon skimming oil, it would have seemed like a normal patrol day. I liked that feeling.

1 comment:

Cajun Stitchery said...

Such a beautiful post, DJ. Thanks