Experts Say Sea Turtles Are 'Thriving' Now That People Are Staying Indoors

By Caitlyn Clancey, Diply

As lockdown orders continue and people remain inside their own homes, deserted beaches are giving sea turtles the opportunity to finally flourish and nest in blissful, human-free peace.

According to CBS 12 News, experts are optimistic about the reptiles' future and say they are thriving now that they're able to build their nests on beaches without any disruption.

It's now nesting season for leatherback turtles, the largest of all sea turtles, but this season will be quite different from past ones.

It takes 60 days for turtle eggs to incubate and for hatchlings to emerge, and in that time, someone could trample the eggs, dig them up, or harm the hatchlings with artificial light.

However, with less foot traffic on closed beaches this summer, those precious eggs will likely be left almost entirely undisturbed.

No pollution, people, or vehicles on beaches means that sea turtles are pretty much living their best lives right now.

"It's going to be a very good year for our leatherbacks," Sarah Hirsch, senior manager of research and data at Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Florida, told CBS. "We're excited to see our turtles thrive in this environment."

"Our world has changed," she continued, "but these turtles have been doing this for millions of years and it's just reassuring and gives us hope that the world is still going on."

For the first time ever, people are banned from stepping foot on beaches, which means they're banned from going anywhere near sea turtle nests.

"I think there is a strong likelihood that we will see decreased human-caused impacts on sea turtle nesting this year, which is a rare silver lining to this global pandemic," David Godfrey, Executive Director for the Sea Turtle Conservancy, told CNN.

"It's premature to try and use numbers to demonstrate what we all think and hope is happening. The numbers just aren't there yet. I hear that the season is going pretty well so far, it's off to a good start."

However, experts say there is definite concern over how newly re-opened Florida beaches will affect these new nesting environments.

Although most beaches, such as those in Jacksonville, are only being opened to the public for "essential activities", like exercise and fishing, they could still experience an influx of people eager to enjoy some sand and surf after being stuck inside their homes.

"It just depends on the behavior of people after the closures end," Dr. Justin Perrault, Director of Research at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center told CNN. "And if there's an excessive amount on the beaches, then more people means more interaction with turtles, which can be negative if they don't follow the rules."

Perrault encouaged beach-goers to be mindful of who they're sharing these newly reopened spaces with.

He advised them to keep lights off when possible, and to maintain a safe distance from marine animals. More than anything, he implored these people to really make an effort to leave the beach the way they found it.

"Remember that we're not the only species out there."

See more at: Diply

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Pets Magazine: Experts Say Sea Turtles Are 'Thriving' Now That People Are Staying Indoors
Experts Say Sea Turtles Are 'Thriving' Now That People Are Staying Indoors
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