Monday, December 6, 2021

Sea Turtle Weekly Update: Lights Out for Sea Turtles

Sea Turtle Weekly Update

Photos by Maria Lamb | Yesenia Olvera, sea turtle monitor digging up a nest 3 days after hatching with curious morning beach walkers.

Yesenia Olvera started monitoring sea turtles in Marco with Mary Nelson back in 2017. Mary had been monitoring the sea turtles on Marco’s beaches for over 25 years until she retired in 2019. According to Yesi, after that first year “circumstances have aligned” and she’s been able to do this job for four summers so far. 

Yesi has a background in biological sciences and always wanted to work in animal conservation. When she first moved to Naples from Arizona, she got the chance to experience a night survey with the Conservancy’s sea turtle interns. This experience left a mark on Yesi. After an internship in Miami, Yesi applied to the summer position with the Collier County’s sea turtle program. 

The first time Yesi saw a big female loggerhead sea turtle she was amazed at how big and mesmerizing they were. As part of the sea turtle conservation with Collier County, she is able to protect each nestgather datatalk to the public and share information on sea turtles, nesting and hatchlings. 

The weather is a big challenge for Yesi and her team (Kath Ebaugh). They can work with rain, but they don’t want to be caught with lighting out in the open. Often, it’s a race against the clock. 

Lighting is also a big challenge for the hatchlings. When disorientation occurs, hatchlings crawl the wrong way; sometimes they never make it to the water. Some are never found, and they die. It is always sad when hatchlings don’t survive shared Yesi; but looking at the bright side when female turtles lay so many eggs with multiple nests in a season, to ensure the survival of the species. 

Yesi wants to remind all beach residents to please close your blinds after dark during sea turtle season to minimize hatchling disorientation.  

Kudos: Jan Jennings of Cape Marco is a daily beach walker. Thanks for keeping it clean for the sea turtles.

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