The 2017 sea turtle season has come to an end on Panama City Beach. Highlights include:
• Largest number of nests (57) and non-nesting crawls (47) since monitoring began in 1991.
• First recorded nesting of 3 sea turtle species (loggerhead, leatherback, green) during the same season.
• Reduced hatching success due to numerous storms which flooded or washed out 36 nests. The nests still produced over 2000 hatchlings, and hatching success was within historical ranges.
• Continued high rates of disoriented hatchlings (72%) affected by lights from beachfront development. Sea Turtle Conservancy is working to retrofit condo lights using oil spill grant funds.
• Record number of strandings (22), although the high number partly reflects improved coordination with the City and County pier attendants, who reported half of the incidents.
• Public nest excavations attended by 1651 residents and tourists.
See you next year!