Turtle Watcher Angela Barros encountered this beautiful leatherback turtle last night on Panama City Beach while accompanying cleaning crews enforcing our Leave No Trace ordinance. Angela used a FLIR infrared camera emitting no light during her work under FWC Consent Permit 19-038-1 and funded by the Bay County Tourist Development Council. Please help us by not using lights of any kind in the presence of sea turtles, take your stuff off the beach at night (tents, umbrellas, chairs), and immediately call the Beach Police 850-233-5000 to report nesting turtles. We’ve found five nests so far, including two made by endangered leatherbacks.
Hooray, our first nest was found this morning by surveyor Vanessa Wilson! It was made by a loggerhead, the most common turtle nesting on our beaches. We’re continuing the practice from last year of not reporting nest locations to protect them from harm. We will invite the public to nest excavations performed to determine hatching success. Nest locations will be posted on our Facebook page as they hatch, starting in late July or August when the hatching season begins. We hope you can join us!
No nests yet but yesterday surveyor Nancy Evou found a leatherback false crawl. The track was 4.5 feet wide which is small for an adult of this species. If you encounter a turtle on the beach at night, please do not shine lights or take flash photos which may cause the turtle to abandon her nesting attempt. Report turtle encounters immediately to the Beach Police at 850-233-5000.
Sea turtle season started today, and our survey team is on the job! If you spot a nesting turtle on Panama City Beach, please call the Beach Police at 850-233-5000, and they will forward your report to Turtle Watch. Remember not to shine lights on the turtle or take flash photos. We’re looking forward to another exciting season!