“Lights Out on Tybee” is a program that has been put into effect to protect nesting Loggerhead Sea Turtles. Tybee Island urges people to turn off or shield light coming from structures visible from the beach after 10pm from May1st to October 31st. Artificial lights can discourage females from nesting. Also sea turtle hatchlings usually emerge from the nest at night because it’s cooler. The biggest threat to their survival, though, is lights on the beach. It confuses the hatchlings who look for the moon’s reflection on the water to guide them. If they don’t make it to the ocean quickly, many hatchlings will die of dehydration in the sun or be caught by predators like birds or crabs. This year Tybee has reached its 1996 Loggerhead Turtle Nest record! We officially have 14 sea turtle nest on Tybee. The newest crawl was found this morning. Thanks to everyone’s efforts to keep the “Lights Out on Tybee” we will break the record this year!!
Why Are Loggerheads Threatened?
The life of a loggerhead sea turtle is difficult. It is estimated that only 1 of every 10,000 hatchlings survives to adulthood. There are many reasons for this, some natural, some man-made. Each year thousands of turtles become entangled and drown in fishing nets. Thousands of turtles are killed each year when they mistakenly eat trash and debris . By following the guidelines below, we can all help ensure that the loggerhead sea turtle remains an integral part of the ecology of Tybee Island.
What You Can do to Protect Loggerhead Sea Turtles
- Remove beach litter
Balloons, plastic bags, foam, fishing gear and other non-degradable litter can cause the deaths of many sea turtles who mistake them for food.
- Observe from a distance
If you encounter a nesting turtle, do not shine any lights on or around her – she may abandon her effort to nest. Do not use flash photography. Stay behind the turtle so that she cannot see you.
- Do not harass a turtle
Don’t touch or prod her to move. Stay out of the way as she crawls back to the water.
- Leave nest sites alone
If you see a nest, don’t disturb it. Leave any identification markers in place. If you find a hatchling wandering in daylight, place it on moist sand in a dry container, shade it and call one of the numbers listed below.
- Report injured turtles
Call to report dead or injured turtles.
- Tammy, STP Coordinator – 912.484.3416
- TI Marine Science Center – 912.786.5917
- Georgia DNR – 800.241.4113
- Lights Out! (see above)