Hollywood (Fla) to dim lights for turtles

It’s taken time, many battles, and the city’s need for permits, but the city of Hollywood, Florida has agreed to dim the lights along its beaches during turtle nesting season.

As scientists have told us for years, and as volunteers with STOP have shown us in this vivid video, sea turtle hatchlings are attracted by light – and head towards it once they crawl out of the sand to begin what should be their voyage into the sea.

Hollywood, Fla. has resisted curbing its lighting — even installing bright, “old-fashioned” streetlights along the Broadwalk in 2007, which exacerbated the problem.

The city did not go willingly into this new ordinance – rather, state and federal officials refused to grant the city permits to fix eroding beaches if it didn’t take steps to protect turtles from the lights. Though done under duress, a state biologist pointed out that this is a big step:

Robbin Trindell, a biologist in charge of sea turtle protection for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said the ordinance represents a “major step” toward assuring state and Continue reading “Hollywood (Fla) to dim lights for turtles”

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Pic o’ the week – sea turtle hatchlings

“The ancient mariner who has seen both the fall of dinosaurs and
the dawn of humankind, this master navigator now,
ironically, needs us … to chart a path to its future.”
-Carl Safina

The Leatherback turtle hatchlings above head into the sea for the first time. Only a few of every hundred or thousand sea turtle hatchlings make it to adulthood.

Threats to their survival include the manmade – poaching, electric lights that interfere with their navigation by moonlight, plastic bags that look like their jellyfish prey, and fishing gear that hopelessly entangles them. At beaches around the world, some people step in to help the endangered sea turtles reproduce.

On the crowded beaches of south Maui, locals are gearing up to help the sea turtles in their millenia-old reproductive ritual.

Harry Eagar of The Maui News reports on the efforts that conservationists, turtle lovers and scientists make every year to help the turtles nest and the hatchlings make the perilous journey from nest to sea.

And Amy Sutherland’s article in the May’s Smithsonian magazine gives a great first-hand account of efforts to help the severely endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles as they nest on Cape Cod beaches.

Want to get involved or adopt a sea turtle or donate in some way? Check out Caribbean Conservation Corp.’s excellent listing of sea turtle groups.

Photo by Scott R. Benson, National Marine Fisheries Service/NOAA