Gulf Islands News Release
Release Date: May 21, 2019
Contacts: Brent Everitt, Brent_Everitt@nps.gov, 850-934-2612
First Sea Turtle Nest of the Season at Gulf Islands National Seashore
Gulf Breeze, Fla. –Biologists at Gulf Islands National Seashore have identified the first sea turtle nest of the season at Gulf Islands National Seashore. The nest was discovered early Monday morning. Beginning Thursday, May 23, the park’s widely popular turtle magnets will be available for visitors.
Magnets are available at the Fort Pickens Discovery Center and Entrance Station, Park Headquarters in Gulf Breeze, and the Perdido Key and Opal Beach Entrance Stations. This year’s magnet again features messaging reminding everyone to turn out the lights for sea turtles. Displaying turtle magnets on vehicles throughout the area reminds every one of the importance of helping sea turtles survive and that it is the time of year to turn off outdoor lights.
Each year, beginning in mid-May and ending in late summer, the seashore provides some of the best nesting habitat for several species of sea turtle, most commonly the loggerhead sea turtle but Kemp’s ridley, green and on occasion leatherback sea turtles do nest within the seashore. Adult and hatchling sea turtles are distracted or disoriented by man-made artificial light sources which draw them away from the Gulf of Mexico and inland. These disoriented turtles often die from dehydration, are preyed upon by coyotes, ghost crabs, or sometimes crawl onto roads or parking lots where they are run over by cars.
“By turning off excess outdoor lights and installing sea turtle friendly lights, we can all help to protect nesting and hatching sea turtles,” said Superintendent Dan Brown. Park staff and volunteers are monitoring park beaches daily for nesting and hatching activity as the season progresses. If you see a sea turtle at night, keep your distance and keep all lights off (including flash lights and flash photography).
About Gulf Islands National Seashore: Created in 1971, the national seashore stretches 160 miles along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida and Mississippi, and includes barrier islands, maritime forests, historic forts, bayous, and marine habitat. Visit us at www.nps.gov/guis, on Facebook www.facebook.com/GulfIslandsNPS, Twitter www.twitter.com/GulfIslands_NPS, and Instagram www.Instagram.com/GulfIslandsNPS.
Photo: National Park Service volunteer Kayli Morgan and Intern Matthew Prioleau complete sea turtle nesting information under marine turtle permit-240. CREDIT: NPS Photo
Gulf Islands National Seashore
1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway
Gulf Breeze, FL 32563