The first day a sea turtle hatchling emerges from its nest, it enters a world where the odds are not in its favor. It enters a world, where it may encounter a human-caused threat before its flippers touch the ocean for the first time.
Sea turtle research experts have predicted that approximately 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000 eggs produce hatchlings that reach adulthood. Before a sea turtle hatchling makes it to the sargassum weed line where it will spend the early years of its life, the turtle has to journey down the beach and swim roughly five miles to safety. During the first twenty-four hours of a hatchlings life, the turtle may encounter marine pollution, predators, boaters and sand holes. At Loggerhead Marinelife Center, it’s our mission to help reduce the human-caused threats sea turtles face each day.
With the help of dedicated volunteers and staff and passionate supporters, we are able to spread awareness about sea turtle and ocean conservation. Despite the efforts of our Center and supporters, each nesting season our hospital team receives hatchlings that have encountered marine pollution. Last hatching season, seasonal Research Technician Jen Reilly found an imperiled green sea turtle hatchling on the beach. Upon emerging from its nest, the hatchling became entangled in discarded line. Luckily, Jen was there to rescue the hatchling and release the turtle into the ocean.
Unfortunately, not all sea turtle hatchlings are lucky enough to be rescued in time. Each nesting and hatching season, our center receives hundreds of hatchlings that have ingested marine pollution. For over thirty years, our center has witnessed the number of hatchlings that have ingested marine pollution increase. In 2016, one hundred percent of all hatchling sea turtles that arrived to our Center had ingested marine pollution.
While our volunteers and staff work to spread awareness and develop conservation initiatives to combat marine pollution, we are always seeking creative ways to promote sea turtle conservation. A few months ago, Lucie Kleinschmidt of Germany visited our facility, where she was inspired by the rehabilitation, research, and conservation work conducted at LMC. After returning home, Lucie created a short stop-motion film to generate awareness about sea turtle and ocean conservation. Her film “The First Day” moved our staff members and reminded us that there is still more work to be done to create a safer environment for all marine life. Last month, Lucie’s film was shown at a short-movie festival in Bamberg, Germany where it was seen by over 300 people.
Because of Lucie’s artistic representation of the perils a sea turtle hatchling may face, LMC’s work was able to reach a new global audience. During an interview at the film festival, Lucie took the stage to discuss the process of creating her film, our sea turtle patients and ocean conservation. We are indebted to supporters, like Lucie, who devote their time and energy into illustrating the need for conservation and sharing the stories of our sea turtle patients. Thank you to Lucie, for being a friend of the Center and creating a beautiful visual representation of our sea turtle hospital.
View The First Day Here.
Learn About the Bramberg Film Festival Here.