Officials at Gulf Islands National Seashore today announced the discovery of the first sea turtle nest of the season. The nest was laid by a Lagerhead turtle on Pensacola Beach, however, staff and volunteers have relocated it to Gulf Islands National Seashore due to the scheduled beach renourishment work on Pensacola Beach.
Cassity Bromley of GINS said the nest was discovered yesterday morning by the staff and volunteer led turtle patrol. Nests average 50 days before hatching. “We will monitor the nest closely over the next 50 days or so and be there when the hatchlings emerge to ensure they find their way to the water,” Bromley said.
Each year, beginning in mid-May and ending in late summer, the seashore provides nesting habitat for several species of sea turtles including loggerhead, kemp’s ridley, and green sea turtles. Adult and hatchling sea turtles are distracted by man-made light sources which draw them away from the Gulf of Mexico and into parking lots and roads. Both the adults and the hatchling sea turtles have been struck and killed by vehicles on roads inside the seashore. By turning off outdoor lights at night near the shoreline or installing turtle friendly lights, you can help to protect nesting and hatching sea turtles
Beginning Thursday, May 19, visitors may stop by the Fort Pickens and Perdido Key Entrance Stations to pick up a free “turtle magnet.” Displaying turtle magnets on vehicles throughout the area reminds every one of the importance of helping young sea turtles survive.