Sea turtles return to there breeding grounds so why are hatchlings on the Chandeleur Islands?

Sea turtle hatchlings have been spotted for the first time in at least 75 years on Louisiana’s Chandeleur Islands, state officials announced Wednesday. So far, two live hatchlings have been observed on their way into the water and 53 crawls have been documented. State officials attribute their return to the barrier islands southeast of mainland Louisiana to efforts to restore the coastal habitat.  The hatchlings were identified as Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and the crawls indicate that loggerhead sea turtles are also present. Kemp’s ridley turtles are listed as endangered and loggerheads are considered threatened. State officials said it was the first known spotting of wild sea turtle hatchlings on the islands in at least 75 years.

The CPRA is one of those who sighted the trail and they have been restoring the islands.

Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reported the sightings on Wednesday. The CPRA and LDWF have been monitoring the Chandeleur Islands since May of this year for the beginning stages of an effort to restore them following damage caused by storms and the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Now that the site has been identified as a sea turtle nesting habitat, the discovery will shape future restoration plans, the CPRA said in a press release. “We have a responsibility to protect the wildlife here, and that means creating safe and nourishing environments for these turtles and other animals that call Louisiana home,” said CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase. “It’s an exciting discovery, and we hope to see additional hatchlings emerging in the weeks and years to come.”

CPRA and LDWF researchers track the sea turtle crawl leading to the nest.
image from the CPRA

Turtles have been sighted on Grand Isle so hopefully we can have more sites for these turtles.

In 2015, loggerhead nests were discovered on Grand Isle, making it the first Louisiana sea turtle nesting spot in over 30 years. The Chandeleur Islands are part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge, which includes the islands in the Breton sound off southeast Louisiana. Kemp’s can be found feeding throughout Louisiana’s coastal waters. Many sea turtle species go to the Chandeleur Islands’ nearshore border of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge to feed near the state’s only marine seagrass meadows every year. “It is well known that the Chandeleur Islands provide key habitats for a host of important species; however, with the recent discovery of a successful Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatching, the islands’ value to the region has been elevated,” said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. The CPRA said that additional sea turtle nests may be found on the Chandeleur Islands. Hatchlings may be discovered well through September, since peak sea turtle nesting season is in June and July, and hatching usually occurs 50 to 60 days later. Louisiana isn’t the only Gulf Coast state seeing new sea turtle nests. The first sea turtle nest on the Mississippi mainland in four years was recently discovered.

This alone is a reason to support the CPRA.

Sea turtle hatchlings on Chandeleur Islands
Tagged on: