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.
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.
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:
- Wildlife Wednesdays: Animal Care Team Creates Hog Heaven at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Wildlife Wednesdays: Do Elephants Drink Through Their Trunks? This and Other Questions Answered on Elephant Awareness Day, September 26, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Wildlife Wednesdays: Celebrating $20 Million Donated to Conservation Through Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund