From April to September the largest concentration of sea turtle nesting in the mainland United States is right here on our South Florida beaches. Sea turtles used to wander around the oceans by the millions but during the last century, numbers have reduced considerably. It is amazing that we still can observe these wonderful creatures in the wild.
This summer you can learn about these ancient sea creatures by participating in the release of the turtles during the height of the incubation season which runs from approximately July thru mid September. Since 1980, more than 650,000 endangered sea turtles have been hatched and released through the Miami-Dade Parks Sea Turtle Awareness Program. And this year the good news from Bill Ahern is, “The state is up 40 percent for turtle nesting and 15 percent in Miami- Dade County thanks to the concerned citizens and sea turtle programs around the state.”
The Sea Turtle Release Program is open for participation from the public on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7:30 pm-10pm. It is located at the Crandon Park Visitor and Nature Center, 6767 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne. You can participate on the program by calling (305) 361-6767 ext. 112 for reservations. There is a $10 fee to participate which goes towards the sea turtle fund.
DID YOU KNOW THESE SEA TURTLE FACTS?
• Sea turtles are on the verge of extinction.
• Sea turtles have existed since the dinosaurs were roaming the earth, 60 million years ago. • It is illegal to buy products made from any part of the sea turtles or their eggs, as it is from any other endangered species.
• Remember, you can help the sea turtles in many ways:
• Never approach turtles emerging from the sea, don’t disturb or harass turtle nests.
• Watch for the incubated turtle hatchlings that are lost or disoriented.
• When boating, watch for turtles, avoid colliding with them.
• Report any injured sea turtle to a local law enforcement officer, marine patrol officer or wildlife officer.