DoE: “UN-friendly lighting causes hatchling misorientation” Loop Cayman Islands

The content originally appeared on: Cayman Compass
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The Department of Environment (DoE) issued a reminder on their Facebook page that condos, hotels and other establishments along the beach should consider the use of turtle friendly lighting on their properties. The purpose of this is to prevent turtle hatchlings from being misoriented and directed to the main roads where they face danger rather than the ocean.

One incident described by DoE is as follows:

On August 3rd, the DoE’s Turtle Hotline received a phone call from Milena Conolly who reported a lone sea turtle hatchling on the beach. The turtle team checked the location and realised this hatchling was from an an unknown nest. Ocean Sciences student and DoE Intern Danielle Seales, investigated and unfortunately discovered that many hatchlings from the nest had been attracted to artificial lights as far as 2 condos down the beach and had not made it to the water. Tracks on the sand indicated more than 25 hatchlings had misoriented and only a few were recovered.

DoE said that their Turtle Team monitor every sea turtle nest across the island to ensure the hatchlings make it safely to the sea. However, sometimes nests are unidentified because the nesting mum’s tracks are either washed away by high tides or raked over by people cleaning the beach. Unfortunately, this means the team cannot ensure the safety of the hatchlings.

DoE is therefore urging beachside property owners to consider turtle friendly lighting (TFL) for their beachside property because:

Sea turtle hatchlings are attracted to white lights and will become exhausted and die when they do not find the oceanEvery year, DoE retrieve hatchlings from swimming pools, drains, car parks, roads, hedges and iron shore due to artificial lightingTFL are warm, pleasing, amber coloured lights which are still bright enough for people and safety and use very little energyNot all amber light is TFL and not all TFL is made to the correct standards for turtle safety. Contact the DoE for assistance in selecting the right type of TFL for your propertyIf you live on critical nesting habitat, the DoE have funding to assist with your property’s TFL retrofit.

DoE concluded by explaining that only around 1 in 1000 endangered baby sea turtles make it to adulthood so they need all the support they can get.

To find out more about TFL email [email protected] or visit doe.ky/marine/turtles

(Source: DoE)

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