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Clearing the way for sea turtles.

Protecting sea turtles is important year 'round - especially in Southwest Florida where turtles nest on local beaches from May 1-Oct. 31. Here are some tips you can use to help sea turtle moms and babies:


* If you encounter a nesting turtle, remain quiet and observe from a distance;

* Shield or turn off outdoor lights that are visible on the beach from May through October;

* Close drapes after dark and put beach furniture far back from the water;

* Fill in holes that may entrap hatchlings on their way to the water;

* Place trash in its proper place.


* Approach nesting turtles or hatchlings, make noise, or shine lights at turtles;

* Use flashlights or fishing lamps on the beach;

* Encourage a turtle to move while nesting or pick up hatchlings that have emerged and are heading for the water;

* Use fireworks on the beach.

Sea turtles are protected under federal law and any harassment or interference with a sea turtle, living or dead, is subject to penalty. If you witness anyone disturbing a turtle or find an injured or disoriented hatchling or adult, please notify agents with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922), the local sheriff's office, and/or Mote Marine Laboratory's Sea Turtle Program at 388-4331. If you find a dead or injured sea turtle, contact Mote's Stranding Investigations Program pager at 988-0212.
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Publication:Sarasota Magazine
Date:Jun 22, 2012
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