Sea turtles dying by the hundreds on slimy shores

Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

SINGER ISLAND, FL (WFLX) - The oil is engulfing species all of kinds including the endangered kind. Hundreds of sea turtles have already died on slimy shores.

It's become a daily routine for Debbie Sobel and other volunteers of the Sea Turtle Conservation League of Singer Island. Each morning she walks up and down 1.2 miles of beach checking out marked sea turtles nests and searching for new ones. "We count all the new nests, all the false crawls. We take care of all the hatchlings and make sure they're not disoriented."

It's a tough job during the eight-month nesting season. Eggs are in danger of being destroyed by water, beach chairs and careless people. "If we didn't have the stakes here, you can walk right by this and not know until it hatches that there was a nest here."

And hatchlings are in danger of dying when led away from the water by bright lights. But this year, there's even a bigger concern to sea turtle conservationists. The gushing oil in the Gulf could soon show up here. "We're sick about it. I have goose bumps even talking about it. It's horrific; the turtles will suffer terribly. They have to come up and breath air."

In the Gulf, wildlife groups have already collected 374 sea turtles affected by the oil; of those collected, 315 were dead. "We're in the biggest sea turtle nesting area in the United States and the second largest Loggerhead nesting in the world."

That's why volunteers with the Conservation League of Singer Island all recently took online courses on how to help animals affected by oil.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is encouraging all wildlife groups to do the same as we all just wait and watch the slick. "I'm praying we don't get it. I pray it doesn't come here, but it's still churning out there."

So for now, turtle experts say, just do what you've always done. Be very careful and stay away from these nests.

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