Conservationist dealing with sea turtle nesting season amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Local

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas – The South Padre Island economy has taken a blow since the island shut down beaches, restaurant and bars.

The pandemic is also having an impact on endangered sea turtles.

South Padre Island is normally a busy tourist destination, but now it’s virtually a ghost town.

“Typically, if the beach was open if they see a turtle, to let it crawl. Let it nest, give us a call right away so we can get to the sight and protect the female as well as the eggs that she lays,” said Mariana Devlin.

She’s the Conservation Coordinator at Sea Turtle, Inc. Since the pandemic, a lot has changed. Even Sea Turtle, Inc. is feeling the strain.

“In our patrol, instead of being every hour. They’re now every two and a half hours the beach isn’t as covered as it usually is,” she said.

From now until September, sea turtles flock to beaches to nest and lay eggs. They’re preferred climate is during windy days.

“We can lose the nest a lot easier, the tracks can disappear. We can miss the female a lot more often so, we can’t take scientific data on the female” Said Devlin “We see sea turtle nests farther up north kind of away from the populated part of the island.”

With less traffic on beaches staff at Sea Turtle, Inc. said that hasn’t impacted nesting and they will continue to thrive.

“The turtles get scared and go back into the water but generally speaking the public is really good with the turtles here,” she said.

The beaches are open for exercise, so to help Sea Turtles, Inc. call 956-761-4511, so they can help the turtle if injured and protect the nesting site.  

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