Sea Turtle Partners
- Caretta Foundation: nesting surveys and stranding response on Little Cumberland Island.
- Caretta Research Project: nesting surveys on Wassaw Island and stranding response.
- Commercial shrimp trawl fishery: use of TEDs has significantly reduced sea turtle mortality.
- Cumberland Island National Seashore: nesting surveys and stranding response.
- Georgia Ports Authority: modifications to port facility lighting to minimize effects on sea turtles, and support for Caretta Research Project.
- Georgia Southern University: nesting surveys and research.
- Gray’s Reef Marine Sanctuary: assistance with stranding response and education.
- Jekyll Island Authority/Georgia Sea Turtle Center: nesting surveys and stranding response.
- National Marine Fisheries Service: provides funds for stranding response, law enforcement for turtle excluder device (TED) compliance (in concert with the DNR Law Enforcement Division) and technical support for TED compliance.
- St. Catherines Island Foundation: nesting surveys and stranding response.
- Sea Island Company: nesting surveys and stranding response.
- The Environmental Resource Network (TERN): DNR Nongame Conservation Section friends group raises money for sea turtle conservation activities.
- The Lodge at Little St. Simons Island: nesting surveys and stranding response.
- Tybee Island Marine Science Center: nesting surveys on Tybee.
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Savannah and Jacksonville districts): channel dredging in winter to avoid sea turtle mortality.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Savannah Coastal Refuges: nesting surveys on Blackbeard Island and logistical support for Caretta Research Project on Wassaw Island.
- U.S. Navy: channel dredging in winter to avoid sea turtle mortality.
- University of Georgia and Marine Extension Service: research and education.
What You Can Do
- Minimize beachfront lighting during sea turtle nesting season. Turn off, shield or redirect lights.
- When walking the beach at night, don’t use flashlights and flash photography. They can deter turtles from coming ashore or disturb nesting turtles. .
- If you encounter a sea turtle on the beach, observe at a distance.
- Don’t disturb turtle tracks. Researchers use them to identify species and mark nests for protection.
- Do not touch or disturb nests or hatchlings.
- Properly dispose of your garbage. Turtles may mistake plastic bags, Styrofoam and trash floating in the water as food.
- Remove recreational equipment such as lounge chairs and umbrellas from the beach at night. They can deter nesting attempts and interfere with the seaward journey of hatchlings.
- Protect beach vegetation that stabilizes sand and the natural coastline.
- When boating, stay alert and avoid turtles. About 28 percent of the sea turtles found dead or hurt in Georgia in 2015 suffered injuries consistent with being hit by a boat. Boaters who hit a sea turtle are urged to stand-by and contact DNR at 800-2-SAVE-ME (800-272-8363). Also report any dead or injured sea turtles seen at 800-272-8363. (If the turtle is tagged, include the tag color and number in the report if possible.)
Loggerheads at a Glance
- Caretta caretta: Most common sea turtle on Georgia’s coast; found off coast year-round. Also one of the
- world’s largest turtles, topping 350 pounds and sporting a carapace up to 44 inches long. How long loggerheads live is not known.
- About that name: Loggerhead refers to the species’ large head.
- Range: The Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea. Nests in the U.S. from Virginia to Texas.
- Nesting: Females reach sexual maturity at 30-35 years. From May through September, they crawl ashore at night, dig a hole in the face of dunes along barrier island beaches, and deposit and cover eggs.
- Pilgrimage: Eggs hatch in 55-65 days. (The first recorded emergence this year happened the night of July 5 on St. Catherines Island.) The young scramble for the water, beginning a journey that can take them from sargassum weed off Georgia’s shores to a current-fed loop that circles to the Azores and the eastern Atlantic Ocean, south to west Africa and back to the western Atlantic.
- Eats: Fish eggs and small invertebrates when small. As adults, they eat mainly crabs and mollusks, but also forage items like jellyfish and dead fish.
- Status: Federally listed as threatened since 1978. Georgia DNR reclassified loggerheads in the state from threatened to endangered in 2006.
- Threats: Primarily mortality associated with commercial fishing activities, but also nest predation by raccoons and feral hogs, poaching, loss of habitat, boat strikes, and even ingestion of plastic litter mistaken as food.
Loggerhead Nesting in Georgia
More on the Net
- Georgia nesting updates by beach – www.seaturtle.org/nestdb/?view=3
- Georgia Sea Turtle Cooperative – www.georgiawildlife.com/SeaTurtleCooperative
- Loggerhead profile – www.georgiawildlife.com/rare_species_profiles (click “Reptiles”)
- Georgia DNR Nongame Conservation Section – www.georgiawildlife.com/wildlife