ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - Beaches in St. Johns County are seeing a record number of sea turtle nests.
Volunteers with Mickler’s Landing Turtle Patrol walk a 4-mile stretch of St. Johns County each morning, recording data on crawls and marking new nests.
This photo sparked a warning from sea turtle patrol members at Mickler's Landing. The beach is seeing a record number of nests right now.— Brittney Donovan (@brittneyANjax) May 20, 2019
On CBS47 at 12:15: The warning for families to help the turtles and nests thrive @ActionNewsJax @WOKVNews pic.twitter.com/BSdZvCtPcL
As of Sunday, they’d located 23 nests – a spike compared to the same time in previous years.
On Monday, patrol volunteers marked seven more nests, bringing the total to 30 three weeks into the season.
The turtle patrol volunteer coordinator says 50 nests total were found in 2018, down from 90 the previous year.
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“We make it a point to be protective and keep them safe,” St. Johns County mom Jennifer Vaughan-Marsey said. “They’re such a living treasure that we have.”
Turtle patrol is warning families not to go looking for nesting turtles after a close-up photo of a turtle at Mickler’s Landing was posted online.
Some concerns -- the light and interaction cause the animal stress.
“Reminder to all, please do not go out on the beach at night looking for nesting or hatching turtles. We need to leave the beach to the turtles at night, so they can do their thing in darkness and alone. Our presence creates undue stress on the animals,” Turtle patrol volunteer coordinator Nancy Condron said on Facebook.
As the number of nests continued to grow Monday, families said they’re keeping their distance to make sure the nests thrive.
“Don’t get in the way, you know? That’s really one of our assets, it’s a treasure,” Vaughan-Marsey said.
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