Have you ever seen yellow tape on four wooden sticks at the beach? It’s usually at the bottom of the dunes. That tape is marking the baby sea turtles nest and marine biologists say you must set up your beach chairs 10 feet or more away from the tape. The reason is to protect the sea turtle nests, which are buried in the sand. Sea turtle hatchlings have less than 1 percent chance of surviving to adulthood.
I went to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, Florida, over summer break and learned fun facts for your next beach trip. No matter which ocean you visit, these tips can help make you a sea turtle hero!
Our Gumbo Limbo guide, Ariana, shared three main reasons sea turtles end up in a rehabilitation center. These are disease, trauma, and sea debris. We can in help in each of these areas. Poor water quality or water pollution causes tumors on their soft tissue. Boating accidents cause paralysis, making it rare for turtles to be able to make their way to nesting ground. Plastic and other waste floating in the ocean mistaken for food and blocks their systems.
I have a question for you. Do you think the sea turtle can make its nest on a beach full of trash? Not at all! So I have a challenge for you to help the sea turtles have a better chance for survival. Here are three tips to make you a sea turtle hero:
1. Bring a reusable bag for all of your beach things and food. No more plastic bags that can blow into the ocean and which the sea turtles might think is a jelly fish and eat.
2. Pick up trash and throw it away, even if it is not yours! Sea turtles nest best on a clean beach.
3. If you build sand castles, cover the holes and moats completely before you leave for the night. When they hatch, baby turtles can fall into the holes trying to get to the ocean. They can’t climb out. Even if you find a hole that is not yours, please cover it.
You can’t save every turtle, but you can try to save one.