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Wildlife Wednesdays: Sea Turtles Race to the Finish Line While Their Nests Hatch Near Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

posted on October 3rd, 2012 by Anne Savage, Ph.D., Conservation Director, Disney’s Animal Programs


In August on the Disney Parks Blog, we began tracking two loggerhead sea turtles, Peach and Pearl, as they started out on an amazing journey. The turtles—named for characters in the Disney•Pixar film “Finding Nemo” —had been fitted with satellite transmitters and released on the beach near Disney’s Vero Beach Resort as part of the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s 5th annual Tour de Turtles. Peach is sponsored by Disney’s Animal Programs and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, and Pearl is sponsored by the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and Disney Friends For Change.
Sea Turtles Race to the Finish Line While Their Nests Hatch Near Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

During the night of July 27, before their release the next morning, Peach and Pearl laid their nests on the beach close to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. We have some very exciting news—both Peach’s and Pearl’s nests have hatched! After several weeks of incubation, in which the nests withstood Tropical Storm Isaac and many other localized storm events, 92 sea turtle hatchlings emerged from Pearl’s nest and made their way to the ocean. The nest had a total of 99 eggs, giving it an amazing 93% hatching success. Peach’s nest also had an impressive hatching success: 86 out of 89 eggs hatched.

Peach's Tour de Turtles Map from Disney’s Vero Beach Resort Pearl's Tour de Turtles Map from Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

As you can see from their Tour de Turtles maps, Peach and Pearl both headed for the Gulf of Mexico. Peach headed up toward the Florida panhandle, and Pearl has remained just offshore of Ft. Myers, Florida, where she has apparently found good foraging grounds with lots of tasty crustaceans. “Satellite tracking research helps scientists and conservationists identify important feeding areas and migration pathways for loggerhead sea turtles, such as Pearl and Peach,” notes Dan Evans, Technology & Research Specialist at the Sea Turtle Conservancy. “Knowing where loggerheads go to feed and the path they take from nesting beaches to reach these feeding areas helps direct policy and regulations that protect sea turtles from potential threats in their feeding areas and during their journey.”

Did you know?

  • Guests can find out more about sea turtle satellite tracking when they visit the Wildlife Tracking Center in Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and everyone can cheer on Peach and Pearl online at www.tourdeturtles.org.
  • With about a month to go in the race, Peach is in 5th place and Pearl is in 8th place. Of course, all sea turtles are winners when we help them by not leaving trash on the beach and by turning off lights at night when visiting the beach.
  • Disney’s Animal Programs team members have marked and monitored 1,381 loggerhead sea turtle nests, 220 green sea turtle nests, and 11 leatherback sea turtle nests so far during the 2012 nesting season, which ends in late October.
  • During the nesting season, guests visiting Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot can adopt a sea turtle nest through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.



Check out these other posts from the Wildlife Wednesdays series:

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4 Comments

1

Danila on October 3rd, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I have donated to the sea turtle concervancy for several years. I was unaware that Disney sponsored any turtles. This is great news! I am glad that the nests made it through the storms & so many turtles were hatched! I hope that Disney continues to give & support wildlife, conservation, rehabilitation & hopefully can help to raise awareness.

2

Skip from FL on October 3rd, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Peach’s was more amazing at 96% hatching success.

3

Pamela from FL on October 3rd, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Sitting on the beach or leaning on the railing of the deck outside the Green Cabin spotting the sea turtles sticking their little noses out of the water to take a breath is one of my favorite pasttimes at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. They are such amazing creatures and I am so proud that Disney’s Animal Programs and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort have made such a commitment to try to help these endangered animals with the monitoring program, monitary donations and most importantly the education programs. Your team never makes it preachy, they just share their passion and inspire that passion in the rest of us. It is worth the itchy legs to get up and meet the turtle nest monitor at 7am to mark the new nests or inventory the hatched nests. I wish everyone could have the opportunity to see your wonderful team in action during nesting season. I’ll give a special mention to Courtney who was working turtle duty along the beach during my most recent visit. Her patience in answering the same questions over and over from as new guests wandered over and her willingness to spend as much time talking to everyone was wonderful.

4

Marianne on October 9th, 2012 at 5:47 am

I am a teacher who adopted Pearl, from the Sea Turtle Conservancy, for my class to follow in the Tour de Turtles race this year. We are quite excited to hear of Pearl’s nest hatching. Do you have any pictures of the excavation of the nest by any chance (like Cinderella’s)? If so, we would love to see them!

4 Comments