Watch parade of sea turtles emerge from nest on Little St. Simons

LITTLE ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — Witnessing a baby sea turtle venture from the nest to the ocean ranks as an awesome sight for any nature lover. But wait until you see what the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Little St. Simons Island turtle tech captured recently.

Little St. Simons Island is on the Georgia coast, one of the state’s barrier islands. And although it shares a name with its larger counterpart, St. Simons Island, that’s where the similarities between the two end. Little St. Simons encompasses 10,000 intrusion-free acres of maritime forests and marshlands, seven miles of shell-strewn beaches and is a virtually untouched island.

Every day, Natalie DePalma bikes all seven miles of the island’s beach. As the DNR’s turtle tech for the island, part of her job is marking new turtle nests and inventorying hatched nests to account for how many babies emerged from each one.

Recently, while biking down the beach at sunrise, she spotted a nest that was coming to life. See the video above to watch the baby sea turtles emerge from the nest.

Little St. Simons Island is a prime nesting habitat for loggerhead sea turtles every summer from May through September. This year, DePalma tracked 124 nests lining the eastern side of the island. Thus far, 88 of the nests have hatched. The information collected on Little St. Simons Island each year helps to craft conservation policies for the loggerhead sea turtles across the southeastern United States.

Here’s another video DePalma captured in August.

Loggerhead Hatchling Dashing to Ocean

In the early morning hours on Little St. Simons Island, a turtle hatchling begins its life with a mad dash across the beach to reach the tideline. 💗 . Loggerhead sea turtles are a vulnerable species under the Endangered Species Act; their hatchlings emerging on our beaches are a testament to over 30 years of conservation work in progress. . Loggerhead populations declined throughout the 1900s due to ocean pollution, trawl fisheries, boat strikes, and development infringing on their nesting beaches. As a result, these turtles were placed on the Endangered Species Act in 1979, and the use of Turtle Exclusion Devices (TEDs) was mandated for the US shrimp fishing industry in 1989. Since these protections were put in place, Loggerheads have been making a comeback along the Atlantic coast. To date, Georgia Department of Natural Resources collects nesting data for the species on each of the barrier islands including Little St. Simons Island. We currently have 123 nests, and look forward to many turtles hatching on our beaches. . Good luck on the journey little one! . Want to learn more about Loggerheads? Join us for our ongoing Turtle Days promotion here at the Lodge, and stay tuned for out Island newsletter which describes the wonderful life journey of these turtles! Read more about Turtle Days: . Video captured by our DNR Turtle Tech Natalie! 🐢 ❤️

Posted by The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island on Friday, August 7, 2020