Jul 26 2012

Caution: Endangered Sea Turtles

Published by under Student blog entries

Endangered baby Loggerhead turtle. Credit to Wikimedia.

Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T.) is a program on the Outer Banks of North Carolina that aims to protect threatened and endangered species of sea turtles. N.E.S.T. started as a volunteer group who all wanted to help protect the local sea turtle hatchlings and they became a non-profit organization in 1995.

A variety of sea turtle species migrate to beaches on the Outer Banks to lay their eggs each year. In a place of high tourism, these turtles have a lower chance of surviving than turtles that lay their eggs on more remote beaches. The biggest threats to sea turtles on the Outer Banks are fishing hooks and lines that can entangle and kill the turtles that get caught. Another threat includes cars that drive on the beach in addition to the turtles natural predators.

N.E.S.T. volunteers have a variety of roles that aid in protecting these endangered turtles. One of the main jobs is setting up and monitoring sea turtle protection areas. After a nesting site has been found, N.E.S.T. installs posts, ropes, and signs warning people that it is a sea turtle protection area. The section is watched over until the babies hatch and are safely off the beach. Other N.E.S.T. volunteers drive ATVs to monitor conditions, keep watch for new hatching sites, and report any injured or dead turtles. If an injured sea turtle is found, it can be taken to the N.E.S.T. rehabilitation center where they work to restore the turtle’s health.

Endangered Loggerhead turtle. Credit to Wikimedia.

The N.E.S.T program has been a huge success with many new volunteers helping out each year. N.E.S.T. has also partnered with local businesses, restaurants, and the aquarium to get more locals, tourist, and especially children interested and involved.

Now with the potential for offshore energy devices off of North Carolina’s coast, sea turtles have even more to worry about. It is extremely important to pay special attention to the turtles’ migratory paths in order to aid in their protection. Understanding migratory pathways will ensure that offshore energy devices will be installed in areas that will not harm these already endangered sea turtles.

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“Network for Endangered Sea Turtles.” N.E.S.T. Volunteer Network, July 2012. Web. 26 July 2012. <http://www.nestonline.org/index.htm>.

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