Leave them alone: Don’t gather sea turtle eggs exposed by Tropical Storm Isaias

Federal, state laws protect sea turtles

Loggerhead turtle hatchlings make their way down the beach (Tonya Long, Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

When the surf settles, Tropical Storm Isaias could unearth untold numbers of endangered sea turtle eggs and hatchlings during a peak time for turtle nesting, according to News 6 partner Florida Today.

But Florida wildlife officials urge those who come across exposed turtle eggs or stranded baby turtles to not collect them. It's better, they say, to call those trained and permitted in how to deal with sea turtle eggs and hatchlings, or in most cases to just let nature take its course.

Federal and state laws protect sea turtles and forbid taking, possessing, disturbing, mutilating, destroying, selling and harassing all types of sea turtles, their nests and their eggs.

Some researchers and turtle advocacy groups obtain special permits to handle turtle eggs and to rehabilitate stranded turtles.

Beachgoers aren’t supposed to touch sea turtles, including recent hatchlings trying to reach the ocean in after storms.

The five species of sea turtle that nest in Florida have evolved to live with storms, biologists say, and is the reason they lay multiple nests per year.

Instead of gathering baby turtles or their eggs, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-3922 or *FWC from your cell phone.

Even better in Brevard County, call the local nonprofit Sea Turtle Preservation Society's emergency hotline at 321-206-0646 if you find a sea turtle in need.

“This year’s sea turtle nesting season is already a success, and the storm season will not change that fact,” STPS posted on its website. “Thousands of nests already have successfully emerged and those hatchlings are now in the ocean; after the storm, mama turtles will continue to nest on our beaches as they complete their nesting season.”