The animal protection organization Bear Warriors United has issued a notice of intent to sue the town of Palm Beach, Florida, US, for light violations, poor nest marking, and issues with tracks and vehicles on the sand, all of which directly impact the protected sea turtles.
Katrina Shadix, the executive director of Bear Warriors United, said to WPTV, “We are ready to file this lawsuit. It’s pretty egregious what’s going on at the beach… We have lots of evidence we have so much video and pictures of violations that I had to get an external hard drive… You can see their light from nighttime from a mile away it was lit up light the NASA launch pad. Their lighting you can see from outer space I’m pretty sure… Palm Beach doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel, other beaches are doing it correctly and wonderfully to protect the turtles and for some reason Palm Beach isn’t… Sea turtle nesting season they need to do a lot more enforcement, a lot more monitoring and a lot more respecting of the Endangered Species Act.”
According to the Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management, Palm Beach County has an estimated two million turtles hatch on its beaches each year, leading the United States in sea turtle nests per mile.
Sea turtles lay eggs and bury them on the beach’s sand. The hatchlings hatch throughout the year but mostly in summer. Hatchlings use a temporary egg tooth to help break open the shell, and after hatching they may take three to four days to dig their way to the surface. They usually wait until night to emerge from the nest, which is quite dangerous as predators may await them. This is why is important not to disturb the process and not to help predators to find them with artificial light. Undisturbed nests can have more than 90% of the clutch successfully hatch, while disturbed nests by humans or predators tend to have a 25% success rate.