U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials are planning an unprecedented relocation of 700-800 clutches of sea turtle eggs from beaches of Alabama and northwestern Florida to the Atlantic coast. The oil spill coincided with turtle breeding season. If allowed to hatch along the Gulf, the baby turtles would likely swim directly into the mass of crude oil spewing encroaching on Alabama and the Florida panhandle.
While nest have been relocated individually, relocation at this scale has never been attempted anywhere in the world.
Most of the nests designated for removal are those of the loggerhead turtle, the world's largest hard-shelled turtle, growing to an average adult weight of 250 pounds. The loggerhead is the most prevalent of five species of threatened or endangered sea turtles that inhabit the U.S. Gulf Coast, others include Kemp's ridley, leatherback and green turtles.
Teams will dig up eggs from the nests, placing them in special containers covered with sand and shipping them by truck to the Atlantic coast of central Florida.
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For updates on how the Gulf oil spill is impacting wildlife, please visit the National Wildlife Federation.