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Protecting Sea Turtles

May 14th, 2010 by flanews

Its nesting season for sea turtles and apart from the usual obstacles of tourists and trash threatening their hatchlings; theres a new danger the oil slick. Volunteers want to protect the sea turtle nests from the impending oil slick, but as Whitney Ray tells us, they may do more harm than good.

Let the early bird keep the worm, Bill Wargo is looking for turtles.

Before sunrise and all morning long Wargo is patrolling this beach looking for sea turtle nests. Friday he spotted a hazard; toys and chairs left by tourist that can snag turtles if washed into the Gulf.

This asks them to do what I just said. Have them remove the stuff, said Wargo as he tied an informational pamphlet to one of the chairs.

Today its debris, tomorrow it could be oil. Some pollution from the massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico could wash up on this panhandle beach. Wargo is preparing for the worst.

We are going to have special containers in case we have live sea turtles and bags in case we have dead ones, said Wargo.

But efforts are underway to save the turtles.

The fear here is that volunteers who want to help pick up debris and wash oil off animals may do more harm than good.

Sea Turtle nests are marked with flags and stakes but if the stakes are removed or nests are not found, volunteers could step on them. Its not just turtles, reports of endangered bird eggs being trampled or lumped in with beach debris have already circulating.

Weve had volunteers who have inadvertently trampled some of these nests which frankly we cant afford to lose any more of these bird that we could lose as a result of this spill, said Julie Wraithmell with Audubon of Florida.

Environmentalists want volunteers to receive more training before they attempt to clean up the debris, so they do more good than harm. Audubon of Florida is asking volunteers to visit its website to learn how to help with out harming sea turtles, sand dunes, or birds. The site is audubonoffloridanews.org

Posted in Environment, Oil Drilling, State News, Wildlife | No Comments »

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