The U.S. Coast Guard, which devotes considerable resources to rescuing humans from the dangers of the sea, has teamed with personnel from the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, Florida, to rescue baby sea turtles from the dangers of the land. The joint operation, carried out in July 2015, saw over 580 turtle hatchlings safely transported to a feeding ground in the Saragasso Sea.
Nature creates few things as adorable as baby sea turtles. Most species’ hatchlings are around 2 inches long when they emerge from their nests, and their first act after hatching is to make darling floppy-fin motions as they rush down the beach toward the water.
Unfortunately, nature also creates few spectacles as horrible as those first few minutes of the turtles’ lives. During their dash to the sea, the baby turtles are fair game for every predator on the beach, especially birds and crabs. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, only around 1 in 1,000 baby turtles live to the full 60-year lifespan of an adult turtle.
The Coast Guard mission to transport the turtles was aimed at beating those odds. Since the most hazardous part of the baby turtles’ lives is the two or three-day hatching period, followed by the dash to safe feeding grounds, the objective was to give them a lift away from the danger. By the end of the mission, SunSentinel reports, over 600 hatchlings had been transported away from the beach and 5 to 10 miles out to the Saragasso Sea, where the seaweed cover is expected to give the young turtles their best chance for survival.
Baby turtles have a rough time right from the start, but hard work from some thoughtful humans is helping groups of them to beat the odds. By working with conservancy groups, the U.S. Coast Guard is able to protect more than just the human residents of America’s coastal areas.
Help Rescue Animals
Provide food and vital supplies to shelter pets at The Animal Rescue Site for free! →