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Baby loggerhead sea turtle. Photo by Orsulak, USFWS.

Public advisory on sea turtle nests and Hurricane Irma

As Hurricane Irma heads toward Florida, there is the possibility that some sea turtle nests along the coasts may be harmed or disrupted.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are advising the public not to interfere with any sea turtles nests or eggs, even if they think they are being helpful by doing so.

Sea turtles have a nesting strategy that accommodates natural storm events. Each nesting female sea turtle deposits several nests throughout the season, essentially hedging her bets to make sure that even if a storm hits at some point during nesting season, there is a high probability that at least a few of the nests will incubate successfully.

No storm season is a total loss for Florida’s sea turtles. Even in 2004 when Florida sustained direct hits from Hurricanes Charlie, Frances and Jeanne, 42% of statewide loggerhead nests hatched, well within the normal range.

If you see exposed sea turtle eggs or a nest that appears distressed, please report the location to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at seaturtlestanding@myfwc.com or mtp@myfwc.com.

Nearly 90 percent of sea turtle nesting in the United States occurs in Florida from March through October.

An infographic outlining the information above.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit fws.gov. Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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