Sea turtle hatchlings LOVE beach resort lights

There’s bound to be messiness when creatures who’ve roamed the seas and beaches for millions of years face the relatively newfangled phenomenon of artifical light. Scientists believe that sea turtle hatchlings, when they emerge from their shells on beaches around the world, institnctually move in the direction where the sky is brightest. On a beach with no artificial lights, that direction is most often the open horizon of the sea.

Here, a few people from the group SeaTurtle Oversight Protection in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida took a night camera out on the beach as they tried to re-direct scores of hatchlings who scurried relentlessly toward the resort lights on a beach… even when they were put in the lapping waves of the ocean instead.

Citizen reporting giving us an interesting visual view of light pollution (and, further into the video, beach chair hazards) and turtle nesting – not meshing well together.

* See Andrew Revkin’s NY Times Dot Earth post about this post & STOP’s video: On Florida Beaches, Let There Be Dark

5 thoughts on “Sea turtle hatchlings LOVE beach resort lights

  1. Thank you for posting this!!! When the turtle looks up at me around frame 8:15 I melt. So innocent and sweet. I never knew this problem was so bad. I have had not got much sleep this week and neither do any of our volunteers. Once you see it first hand, you will not be able to go to bed without thinking of them, stranded in the sand. We are SEVERELY understaffed because volunteers must undergo a lot of training before getting on the permit. But we need coordinated nest watcher. People who can stay by critical nests and relay information to our permitted staff that can travel from nest to nest… There is NOTHING worse than walking up to a nest to find a quarter mile of tracks leading to the city.

    1. This is so amazing Justin – Mark had told me of the severe problems the little hatchlings are facing –
      but seing it first hand – and seeing the big Mother entangled in the lawn chair makes you want to cry –
      wish I could help – keep on doing what you all are doing – and make people aware of this –

  2. ONe thing that isnt mentioned clearly enough is that the City of Ft Lauderdale is probably the biggest offender of their own ordidance..besides not enforcing the law, their own street lights can be clearly seen from the beach causing mass disorientations . I wish we can get a pro bono environmental attorney to help fight this blatant disregard for the law designed t o protect an endangered species….if any one is out us please!

  3. This is one of those things that we actually CAN do something about. Changing the street lighting works, Boca put some along the road instead of in the air, and possibly adding solar powered lights to the already anchored swim markers along the beach might help draw the hatchlings toward the water. The good news is we are paying attention more than ever now that our awareness is up. Thank you to all the volunteers (whom I will be joining tonight) who have been so dedicated to this much needed cause.

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