Sea turtle nesting season begins at Alligator Point

Published: May. 27, 2020 at 10:18 PM EDT
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By: Hannah Messier | WCTV Eyewitness News

May 28, 2020

PANACEA, Fla. (WCTV) -- As summer begins, people aren’t the only ones heading back to the beach.

Sea turtle nesting season is well underway at Alligator Point.

“Our job is being a voice for the voiceless, they have no voice,” Michelle Darpel, the director of Alligator Point Sea Turtle Patrol, explained.

Myrtle, a Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle, was brought into to the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab in Panacea by a fishermen who found her caught in his net.

“We did an inspection of the turtle and found that it has a little wound hole on it’s neck,” Lexy Preheim, an aquarist with the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab, said.

After cleaning Myrtle’s wound with alcohol and applying antibiotics, she’s carried back to her tank.

Once she’s completely healed, she’ll head back to the gulf. The marine lab says it’s not uncommon for fisherman to bring in these turtles.

“A lot of our turtles come in in the springtime when fishing season picks up again and they get caught on hooks and lines,” Preheim described.

While Preheim cares for adult turtles, Darpel keeps an eye out for hatchlings.

The Alligator Point Sea Turtle patrol looks for sea turtle nests along the beaches. They find and mark the first nest of the season, which is the second earliest nest they’ve ever found.

“Given the fact that these mother sea turtles can nest every 12-17 days, since we already have a nest, this momma turtle that laid her nest on May 20 could actually nest four or five more times, just her.” Darpel explained.

With people flocking to beaches, its important to keep a lookout for these nests.

“Don’t leave trash, knock down any sandcastles that you may build, or any kind of sand sculptures. Fill in any holes that you dig. You know, sea turtles can become trapped and it can even be fatal.”

Small things you can do to safeguard our neighbors in the sea.

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