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Exciting leatherback sea turtle news! Thanks to South Walton Turtle Watch crew of trained volunteers walking, watching,…

Exciting leatherback sea turtle news! Thanks to South Walton Turtle Watch crew of trained volunteers walking, watching, working, protecting our nesting sea turtles and hatchlings… and reporting and educating throughout nesting season each year (May – Oct) THANK YOU SWTW ?We suspected. (Wishful thinking ?) We waited. (Aka manifested?) And then we CONFIRMED (See Video ?)?…Our FIRST FERTILE LEATHERBACK NEST in 18 YEARS!!!? Oh the H…APPIEST #FRIYAY EVERRRRR!!! ? Ahhhh the Leatherback…aka Dermochelys coriacea…aka Dc for us turtle folks ?…the largest sea turtle in the world ?. They are the only species of sea turtle that lack scutes and a hard shell. They are named for their tough rubbery skin and have existed in their current form since the age of the dinosaurs ? Leatherbacks are highly migratory, some swimming over 10,000 miles a year between nesting and foraging grounds. In Florida, they primarily nest on the Atlantic coast but a few are present on the Gulf coast and WE are one of the lucky duckies ? to get one ?? of her nests!! Leatherbacks are known to lay multiple nests per season with about 10 day intervals between nesting events!! This is HUGE…ya know like LEATHERBACK HUGE!!! ?Leatherback crawls range from 5’ to 8’ in width with them weighing in at 700 lbs to up to 2000 lbs!! WOWZERS!!! When they are on the smaller side with uncharacteristic crawls/nest like this one, they can easily be mistaken for a Green. ? BUT history was MADE and Lacie the Leatherback (obviously named by you know who ?) is off swimming to the sweet sargassum to return here to nest on our beaches in oh say like 30 years or so.? Yep, that’s us manifesting again ??. ?NEST 16–LEATHERBACK ? ?45 emerged ?1 live in nest (part of emerged data count) ?5 whole eggs ?50 Total ??90% HATCH SUCCESS ? ?SWTWG NESTING UPDATE? ??54 Total Nests— ?34 Loggerhead, 19 Green & 1 Leatherback ?Of those we have excavated 24 nests thus far!! We also have assessed our nests post Hurricane ? Idalia— All except 2 remaining nests were at least washed over by the high tide event with one complete wash out (Eggs seen washing out). Sea turtle nests can withstand some water disturbances but not standing water. We will continue to monitor these nests with high hopes of hatchling production. ? **All work conducted under FWC MTP-120** “Lacie the Leatherback”? was released shortly after this video—after the sunset ?

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