Sea turtle nesting season – the time of the year when you will come across bright yellow sea turtle nesting signs and stakes, tracks and sometimes even nesting turtles or hatchlings along the beach. Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) is reporting up to 31 leatherback sea turtle nests on the 9.5 miles of beach that the center monitors on a daily basis. The community can help save the leatherback sea turtle species by “adopting” a nest, starting at only $35. All money raised goes to support LMC’s programs and sea turtles. The adoption includes a personalized certificate and letter, a glossy photograph, educational materials, and a follow-up about nesting after the season is finished. Additional adoption levels are available which include a LMC branded tote bag, sea turtle stuffed animal, magnet, and DVD.
“The best part about the beach area we survey is that it hosts some of the highest density nesting in the United States, we get three species, and we are at the US epicenter for leatherback sea turtle nesting,” said Sarah Hirsch, LMC Data Manager. “We can learn so much from this important nesting population and are thrilled to continue research on these intriguing animals,” she added.
An adoption donation helps fund the continued research of this endangered species. Sea turtle hatchlings face a difficult journey to adulthood, with many natural and human-based threats standing in their way. Only one in every 5,000hatchlings survives to adulthood. Their survival today is also threatened by human activity. Disturbances of nesting beaches jeopardize the sea turtles’ survival, including development, beach lighting, sea walls, jetties, erosion control structures and nighttime activity on the beach.
In the late 1980’s, LMC noticed a high number of leatherback sea turtles nesting on North Palm Beach County beaches. For more than twenty years, the center has continued to study and catalog the local leatherback sea turtle population, resulting in one of the most robust leatherback sea turtle data sets in the world. While the average number of leatherback sea turtle nests on Palm Beach County beaches has increased over time, there are still many more questions that remain to be answered. One question further research could answer is, “Why do leatherback sea turtles eat their weight in jellyfish every day?” Leatherbacks and other sea turtles rely on jellyfish for their diet; without them, jellyfish populations flourish, resulting in even more imbalanced ecosystems. A nest adoption will provide funding to continue this important research. You can find out more information about adopting a leatherback, loggerhead, or green sea turtle nest at www.marinelife.org/adopt or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.