Sea turtle egg rescue under way

Sea turtle egg rescue under way
4:56 PM, Aug. 18, 2011|topnews|text|Home

A rescue operation is under way at Cape Henlopen State Park to save nearly 200 eggs laid in the sand early today in the first known sea turtle nesting in Delaware, a rescue official said.

Suzanne Thurman, executive director of the Marine Education Research and Rehabilitation Institute, who is directing operations at the scene, said the turtle laid the eggs early today and returned to the sea.

She said volunteers are working in a 12-hour window before high tide will cover the site and wash away the eggs.

As of 2 p.m. they had removed 194 eggs for relocation by the Herring Point jetty.

The four-foot long loggerhead sea turtle was observed laying eggs near the Herring Point jetty at 2:48 a.m. by Curtis Reynolds, a park ranger on duty at the time.

He contacted Keith Betts, another ranger and MERR volunteer who contacted the agency.

The eggs were buried as deep as 28 inches. They were moved about 100 yards away to a higher area and reburied at the same depths and orientation they were found.

The rescue crews have placed a beach umbrella over the site and are trying to keep people away so the eggs will survive.

The incubation period is 40 to 90 days.

The eggs – described as paper thin – are on their own now. After they hatch they are expected to return to the ocean.

That is a stroke of luck that they found a nesting turtle. If its the only one in years, protecting the eggs, and letting them hatch and return to the sea is a great thing. More of them may return in years. On the other hand, perhaps they are the only ones biologists have found. there may be more, maybe not. we dont know. still its a stroke of luck to help rebuild a nesting population. Good News.

Years ago, while out fishing on my boat, i occasionally trolled by large turtles swimming offshore. not many, but a few. some were like 4 feet long or larger. hard to tell exactly . but nice size back then. i would just steer clear of them so as not to tangle them with my lures. Lots of unusual sea life out there. did i ever mention the 20 foot Pilot whale that rubbed my boat one day 3 miles off Atlantic City?

Wow Ken, sounds like you had an interesting experience with one of the Atlantic’s common cetaceans. I am surprised that there have been zero recorded nestings in DE. I have seen the sea turtle nest on Assategue Island to the South. Hopefully, this is a sign of increased population, and not light pollution further south or climate change making Delaware warmer.

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Pretty cool, every year I head to Florida to fish and we always see some turtles out swimming. They also have never seen this type of turtle up north, so I wonder what its doing around here.

Yeah, I used to see them every summer offshore. but that was like 15-20 years ago when i kept the boat down at the Joizee Shoare. much has changed since then.