First Documented Green Sea Turtle Nest in the History of Biscayne National Park
NPS photo by Ryan Fura
Contact: Matt Johnson, 786-335-3679
On August 15, 2013, biologists excavated the first documented green sea turtle nest in the history of Biscayne National Park. Sixty six green sea turtle hatchlings were assisted from the nest and released in open water.
Green sea turtle nests were not documented in the park until this recent discovery. It is the nests of the loggerhead turtle that are usually found within the park.Loggerhead, green, and hawksbill turtles are more commonly observed in park waters. Leatherback turtles may be observed yet they are not common. All four turtles are threatened or endangered species.
Sea turtle nest excavations are routinely done soon after the sea turtles hatch. The excavations aid sea turtles having difficulty emerging from the nest on their own. The tiny sea turtles may be entangled in roots, other vegetation, or marine debris located between the nest area and the open water they need to reach. The excavations also help determine each nest's hatch success rate. Park biologists rescued all Sixty six sea turtle hatchlings by removing them from the nest and releasing them in open water.
It is a productive year for sea turtle nests in the park. Twenty one nests were observed so far this year, over three times the normal number. The number of observed false crawls, when a female turtle attempts to make a nest yet instead gives up due to various obstacles, has also declined.Sea turtles are hatching earlier this year than park biologists anticipated and the reason for this is unknown.
Keeping park beaches free of debris during the nesting season provides greater chances of success for nesting sea turtles.Sea turtle conservation efforts in Biscayne National Park, including nest monitoring and habitat restoration, have occurred since 1984. Sea turtle nesting beaches within the park are surveyed and monitored to protect nests from natural predation and unintentional damage.Park volunteers and employees remove large amounts of accumulated marine debris from coastal dune habitat, ocean-side beaches, and mangrove shorelines of islands within the park.
A video of the sea turtle hatchlings swimming for the first time and images of the nest excavation were posted on August 16, 2013, on the park’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/BiscayneNPS. For additional information about the park, visit www.nps.gov/bisc. For regular updates from the park, "like" us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/BiscayneNPS.
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