Earlier this year, Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) partnered with Naked Turtle Rum (from the Virgin Islands) to kick off their “Kill the Lights/Save the Turtles” campaign in St. Pete Beach, Florida. David Godfrey, Executive Director of STC, explained that the idea is to raise awareness for sea turtles and help protect their homes by bringing attention to the problem of too many beachfront lights. See excerpts below:
Nesting sea turtles once had no trouble finding a dark place to nest, but beaches are now lined with condominiums, businesses and hotels. Lights that shine onto a nesting beach can draw turtle hatchlings away from the ocean where they have little chance of survival. Beach lights can also discourage females from coming ashore to nest.
Godfrey notes that beachfront lighting can be managed to benefit humans and sea turtles. A good sea turtle friendly lighting fixture directs light down to the ground shielding the light source from being visible from the beach. The Don Cesar has made progress in shielding and converting to turtle friendly LED lights in time for nesting season [which started on May 1]. Godfrey hopes that other businesses and beachfront residents will follow the example set by the Don Cesar.
“People need to be made aware that there are easy, cost effective technologies available that can help manage beachfront lights”, said Godfrey.
Call the STC at (352) 373-6441 for any additional questions or visit their educational page to learn more about how lighting affects sea turtles.
The Sea Turtle Conservancy is a non-profit organization based in Gainesville, Florida. Their research and conservation initiatives have been instrumental in saving the green sea turtle from extinction, as well as raising awareness and protection for sea turtles across the globe.
[Photo above from http://www.nakedturtle.com/home/; second photo by Daniel Evans, Sea Turtle Conservancy.]