100 sea turtles hatch at Assateague, head out to sea
Nearly 100 tiny sea turtle hatchlings from one nest at Assateague Island National Seashore successfully made their way out to sea, the National Park Service announced.
It said a loggerhead sea turtle nest successfully hatched at the National Seashore with about 100 hatchlings emerging from one nest site in the Maryland Over Sand Vehicle zone.
Although multiple sea turtle nesting attempts have been documented within the National Seashore in past years, this is the first confirmed hatch and the largest number of hatchlings ever recorded, the park service said.
“We are thrilled with this outcome,” said Bill Hulslander, chief of resource management for the National Seashore.
“This event underscores the increasing importance of undeveloped beaches along Assateague Island to sea turtles and other federally threatened and endangered species.”
In the Atlantic Ocean, loggerhead sea turtles typically nest on sandy beaches from North Carolina to Florida. It is rare for loggerheads to nest north of Virginia.
The National Park Service monitors nearly 20 miles of Maryland coastline along Assateague Island and reports on all sea turtle nesting activity.
The resource management staff engages in early morning patrols to locate new nesting sites for sea turtles and other threatened species like the piping plover.
“We appreciate the patience and cooperation of park visitors when we implement temporary beach closures for these rare species,” said Superintendent Debbie Darden.
As an endangered species, loggerhead turtles are protected under federal law. By obeying the law and following some simple guidelines, visitors can greatly improve the chances of sea turtle survival.
Although there are no additional sea turtle nests expected to hatch this season, park staff will begin searches for sea turtles again next summer.