Did you know that all species of sea turtles are either threatened or endangered? An especially critical time for these amazing animals is nesting season, which officially starts today in Florida, and lasts until Oct. 31.
Florida beaches are nesting sites for a number of species, including hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback, Kemp's ridley and green sea turtles. Nests can be found on both the east and west coasts of Florida.
Hatchlings generally emerge at night, before making their difficult trek to the water. Coastal development and disturbances, such as noise and activity on beaches, leave little room for sea turtle nesting areas. Artificial lighting on beaches can confuse nocturnal nesting sea turtles as they may mistake the lighting for daytime and return to sea without nesting. Hatchlings are also confused by artificial lighting, including street and city lights, causing them to head away from the ocean and toward parking lots and city streets. Pollution, such as plastic bags resembling jellyfish, can also cause sea turtle deaths.
SeaWorld is a global leader in the rescue and rehabilitation of the endangered sea turtle -- returning more than 1,100 back into their natural habitat so far this year. Beach-goers are encouraged to be mindful of these magnificent creatures when spending time on Florida's beaches this summer.
No animal's journey is more fascinating than that of the sea turtle -- which is the inspiration behind the newest attraction at SeaWorld, TurtleTrek, which just opened on April 27. Guests can see gliding hawksbill and green sea turtles above and below water viewing areas, before embarking on a 3D 360 movie adventure through the eyes of a sea turtle.