Near-record sea turtle nesting concludes on Longboat Key through Venice beaches
By Hayley Rutger
Sea turtles have finished nesting on beaches from Longboat Key through Venice, which hosted a near-record number of nests, according to Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program.
The final local nest of 2014 was laid by a loggerhead sea turtle on Sept 6. on Lido Key. Nests continue hatching and rescued hatchlings continue receiving care in Mote’s Hatchling Hospital.
It is important that the public keep beaches dark and clear of obstacles for hatchlings trying to reach the water, according to Mote’s Sea Turtle Patrol — a group of scientists, interns and volunteers who monitor 35 miles of local nesting beaches each day of nesting season, May 1-Oct. 31.
All told, the 2014 nesting season on Longboat Key through Venice produced: 2,448 nests from loggerhead sea turtles, nine from green sea turtles and two from Kemp’s ridleys. That adds up to a grand total of 2,459 nests.
This year’s grand total is strong, finishing only 10 nests short of the 33-year record total that Mote documented in 2012. This year, two parts of Mote’s area — Lido and Casey keys — surpassed their individual records.