Beach tips during sea turtle nesting season

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 6:40 AM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - We are now one month into sea turtle nesting season and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources says they are in full swing, having documented 484 nests on beaches across the state so far this season.

In any given year, nesting numbers can fluctuate quite a bit. Last year, there was a total of 2,786 nests recorded in Georgia. In 2019, the nests totaled 3,950, which was the largest number since they started recording about 30 years ago.

While numbers look to be a little lower this year, at just under 500 so far, researchers from UGA and the U.S. Geological Survey estimate that the population will plateau at current levels for the next 20 years.

If current protections remain in place during that time, the Georgia DNR says numbers could start to increase again, possibly reaching levels not seen since the late 1950s.

There are a few things people can do to help. If you are on the beach at night, don’t use flashlights or flash photography. If you find a sea turtle, stay quiet, still and keep your distance no matter the time of day. And make sure you properly dispose of all garbage on the beach and fill in any holes you make during the day before leaving.

Right now on Tybee Beach, there are several nests already marked. Beachgoers should stay clear of those areas and if you see turtle tracks, just leave them alone.

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