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Vol 5 No. 36 - May 25, 2005

Seasonís first turtle nest arrives



Turtle Watch volunteer Maro Lorimer, far left, and Section 3 coordinator Debbi Basilius relocate the first turtle nest of the season on Anna Maria Island.
PHOTO/TURTLE WATCH


By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer

It's official. Nesting season is firmly under way, and the Island has its first nest.
Sometime in the overnight hours between Tuesday and Wednesday, a mother turtle lumbered ashore near Maple Avenue in Anna Maria and deposited her clutch of eggs.
At daybreak on May 18, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch volunteer Maro Lorimer found the nest and notified Section 3 coordinator Debbi Basilius.

Since the nest is the area that will be renourished this summer, it had to be relocated. The eggs were dug up and re-deposited in the dune near White Avenue.

"We have to be very careful not to turn the eggs over," said AMI Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox. "That can kill the embryo. We also have to move very quickly. Any relocated nests have to be back in the ground by 9 a.m. or we can't move them. Those are the regulations."

The nest is staked off and surrounded by pink plastic tape to let people know to stay away and let nature take its course.

It will take roughly 60 days for the eggs to hatch and for the baby turtles to emerge and scramble to the sea. It'll be 20 years before any hatchling is ready to reproduce. And only about one in a thousand baby turtles ever remains alive long enough to reproduce.

Green turtle stranding
A juvenile green turtle in trouble was spotted in the water near 46th Street just before sunset on May 18.

Turtle Watch Volunteers Fran and Rob Altstaetter noticed the green, and Fran got into the water to help support it until help could arrive.

Fran and the young green turtle drifted towards the public beach where the marine rescue people helped pull the young turtle from the water.

"It was very weak," Fox said. "We didn't think it would make it through the night, and it didn't."

Significantly, according to Fox, the young green turtle didn't have any of the little papillomas (tumors) that have been plaguing that species for the past several years.

The turtle was taken to Mote Marine Laboratory where a necropsy will be performed in an attempt to determine the cause of death.

Turtle contacts
If you find an injured or sick turtle, you can call AMI Turtle Watch at (941) 778-1435 or (941) 232-1405.

You can also check out the web site at islandturtles.com.

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