Every year thousands of individuals earn their way to visit the gorgeous white sands and emerald waters of the Florida Panhandle. Specifically, many bring their families and friends to what has become known as”Scenic 30-A” that is a 24-mile stretch of state highway that hugs the Gulf of Mexico. As spring break season picks up, shore visitors arrive in droves. Eventually, most people make their way back home, but some stay behind and get joined by others like them – Sea Turtles!
Over the years, human intrusion has contributed to the reduction in the sea turtle population. In the local area, the first three are endangered and the final threatened.
After some simple rules, helps maintain the turtles secure and observers out of trouble:
1 – Avoid shining bright lights on grown turtles as they may become disoriented. Artificial lighting is more of a threat to the hatchlings than predators. They navigate into the sea by using the brightest light which is typically the moon over the sea.
2 – Give the turtles ample room to move towards their intended location, whether it is to nest or return to the sea. Additionally, fill in holes and smooth over sand castles that you might encounter on the beach because they may unintentionally trap moving turtles.
3 – Do not leave trash behind on the beach. It could divert or get eaten by turtles and other wildlife, causing them injury.
4 – if you find a nest or turtle laying eggs, call -LRB-888-RRB-404-3922 any time. The Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission will contact trained volunteers that will mark and guard the nest, raising the chances that the hatchlings will survive.
Around Highway 30-A, 1 group of volunteers is the South Walton Turtle Watch. The organization has been around since 1995. They run training and recruit volunteers who then look for and document nests. They also mark off the area around nests so individuals will be less inclined to disturb the eggs. The volunteers are required to be trained and certified in the state of Florida. It is truly a criminal offense in the country to disturb these specific turtles and their hatchlings or nest.