The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 48 - September 12, 2012


Three disorientations as 15 turtle nests hatch

Carol Whitmore

Glenn Wiseman
Nests on the beach are still plentiful although turtles
are hatching at an increased rate.

The big news last week is the number of loggerhead turtle nests that hatched on Anna Maria Island.

After the huge losses from Tropical Storm Debby and more wind and waves from Isaac, the turtle season is a lesson in how resilient Mother Nature is with these endangered creatures.

“We had around 15 nests hatch last week," said Glenn Wiseman, of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch. “We also had three disorientations – two near Manatee County Beach, in Holmes Beach, and one near the Tortuga Inn, in Bradenton Beach.”

Wiseman said the Tortuga Inn was not responsible for that last disorientation. He said the management of Tortuga had been working hard to limit the amount of artificial light that the turtles can see and they were likely distracted by streetlights.

Disorientations occur when hatchlings are drawn to artificial light, instead of to the faint ambient light emitted from the Gulf of Mexico. Only about 1 percent of the turtles that hatch make it to maturity.

Wiseman said the man who runs the beach chair rentals across from the Tortuga Inn saw the hatchlings on the beach and helped get most of them into the water. He said nine turtles were hit by traffic on Gulf Drive.

The weather forecast doesn’t call for heavy winds or rain as the only named storms currently are churning in the Atlantic and will probably die off in the cooler waters of the north.

Nesting news

Nests laid: 360
False Crawls: 330
Nests hatched: 145
Hatchlings to the Gulf : 7593
Nest Disorientations: 15

*This record number includes all sea turtle nests laid since the start of the season on May 1 through Aug. 24. The previous record was 244 nests in 1999. In late June, Tropical Storm Debby destroyed an unknown number of nests that can’t be identified until their hatch dates have passed. Since Debby, 181 nests have been laid.

Source: Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring

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