Floridians asked to turn off lights to protect baby turtles
TAMPA, Florida— Floridians living near sea turtle nesting beaches are advised to turn off or shield lights to protect sea turtles.
Baby turtles use natural light from the sky to guide them into the water. If they follow artificial lighting instead, newborns can be endangered; and predators, cars, or other hazards can lead to premature deaths.
Additionally, adult sea turtles may be confused by artificial lights. This can cause adult female turtles to return to the ocean, instead of laying their eggs.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission urges residents to follow three “golden rules” when it comes to artificial lighting: luminaires should be mounted as low as possible, produce only long-wavelength light and be shielded from the beach.
Other ways to reduce harmful light pollution include turning off unnecessary lights – even if you’re indoors, planting buffers of vegetation such as sea grapes or other native plants to protect the light source. light, closing blinds or curtains and using motion sensor lights set to the shortest time setting. Additionally, homes or buildings on the coast are encouraged to install window tints with 45% or less interior-to-exterior light transmission.
Sea turtle nesting season lasts from May 1 until October 31 of each year in Florida. Many beaches offer turtle tours during this time. Although swimmers may be tempted to take photos of sea turtle nesting areas, people are advised not to take flash photos as this can also interfere with the turtles’ sense of orientation.
Some of the best places to experience sea turtle nesting in the Sunshine State include: Von D. Mizell-Eula State Park, Loggerhead Marine Life Center, and the Sea Turtle Preservation Society. Other sea turtle hotspots can be found here.