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If you see a sea turtle or hatchlings you should report the sighting, so that it can be monitored and catalogued. Just about every county that has nesting beaches in the continental United States has a "Sea Turtle Watch" organization that patrols the beaches daily during nesting season. If you come across a sea turtle or hatchlings you should report your sighting to the local turtle watch organization. You can use google to find this information, or call the local sheriff's department. Once you have reported the sighting stay and watch the turtle, but be sure to follow these rules.
-DO NOT shine any light on the sea turtle and/or its face. The light may cause the female to abort the nesting process, or other sea turtles nearby may be discouraged from nesting if there are lights on the beach. If you are using your turtle safe filter over the lens of your flashlight, you should still refrain from shinning the light directly at the face of an adult or a hatchling.
-DO watch from a distance. Stay clear and out of sight of the turtle. Stay behind the turtle and remain as still and quiet as possible until she begins laying eggs; otherwise you may scare her back into the sea.
-DO NOT take pictures using a flash, including camera phones.
This high-intensity light can be even more distrubing than flashlights.
-DO NOT touch or handle the sea turtle. In addition to being illegal, you may injure the turtle or cause her to leave without completing the nesting process.
-DO NOT stand in the turtle's path to the ocean.
-DO NOT handle sea turtle eggs or put anything into the nest. You can introduce bacteria or injure the eggs.
-DO watch from a distance and remain quiet and still if you encounter hatchlings emerging from the nest. Keep all lights off.
-DO leave the hatchlings in their nest and allow them to emerge and crawl to the water on their own. Scientists believe this crawl to the water is important and imprints on the hatchlings brain the location of that particular beach. Adult female turtles will return to the same beach they hatched from to lay their eggs.
-DO NOT disturb tracks left by adult or hatchling turtles. Researchers use the tracks to identify the species of turtles that nested, as well as to find and mark the nests.
-DO enjoy the experience and remember it for the rest of your life!
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