Hi, My Name is Sea Turtle. I Enjoy Moonlit Strolls on the Beach…

 

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Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle release on Padre Island National Seashore

 

Lights Out: Sea-Turtle Nesting Season Starts Today

I’m a little late with this. Sea turtle nesting season started in southern Florida on March 1 and it goes through October. Town policies are now being enforced that people turn off, or redirect lighting from their houses. Sea turtle hatchlings use moonlight reflected off the ocean to orient themselves after emerging from the nest. If the hatchlings get disoriented, they are more likely to be predated or die from the elements before reaching the ocean. So maybe they more enjoy moonlit, fear-fueled and frantic sprints to the sea. Key word being moonlit. Whatever happened to good old natural lighting? Some people say, “the policy makes streets too dark and caters to turtles over humans.” Yes, it does. Although, I would like to believe humans are capable of finding a creative solution to the problem. I don’t think the sea turtles will be able to all of a sudden impart new knowledge on their hatchlings about beachfront lighting. The number one complaint from residence is the lack of security lighting at their homes. The article goes through some arguments from community residents about the lighting issue.

 

English: Legal posting related to sea turtles ...

English: Legal posting related to sea turtles and their nests in Boca Raton, Florida. Français : Avertissement légal concernant les tortues marines et leur nids à Boca Raton, en Floride. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe it’s our responsibility to figure out the best way to handle the lighting issue and maximize human safety. I think some people just blow the issue out of proportion because they don’t understand why sea turtles are important and why people have to alter their lifestyles because of them. I think research on sea turtles vision and what types of lights they are attracted to would be beneficial. But until a better solution is found, it is important to remember that people and nature overlap. I was happy to read that the majority of people do their best to follow proper lighting regulations and that most warnings happen because residents were unaware of the policy. The article also has fun facts about sea turtles and what to do about your lights if you have ocean view property. So, if you live by the ocean, make sure you are paying attention to your light pollution!

 

 

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