Oil Spill Officials Plan To Evacuate Thousands Of Sea Turtle Eggs

It was just last week that Americans learned thousands of endangered sea turtles were being burned alive during BP clean-up efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.

Care2′s Tracy Viselli reported that BP has been using controlled burns as a way to keep the oil slick, which is now thousands of square miles in size, from growing even larger. The only problem is that endangered sea turtles and other wildlife often get trapped by booms floating on the water’s surface. When the area is set on fire, the wildlife inside it are doomed.

As if this weren’t bad enough news for the struggling sea turtle population, scientists are now worried that the oil spill is getting dangerously close to the tens of thousands of sea turtle eggs incubating in the sands of the northern Gulf of Mexico- threatening total decimation of the next turtle generation.

In an effort to prevent the oil from harming the eggs, officials are planning to dig up the approximately 700 nests on Alabama and the Florida panhandle beaches, pack the eggs in Styrofoam boxes, and fly them to a facility in eastern Florida where they can mature. Once the eggs have hatched, the young turtles will be released in darkness on Florida’s Atlantic beaches into oil-free water. Translocation of nests on this scale has never been attempted before (Science Insider).

A translocation job of this magnitude has never been attempted before, and scientists say they would normally never risk disturbing the nests in this manner, but it might be the turtle’s last hope.

“This is really a worst-case scenario,” Michael Ziccardi, a University of California, Davis, veterinarian and oil-spill veteran told Science Insider. “We hoped we wouldn’t get to this point.” Ziccardi is leading the government’s response efforts for marine mammals and sea turtles.


Find full Care2 Coverage of the Spill here.

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Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons - JB London


Andrew M.
Mary Mather8 years ago

It seems to me that we ALWAYS create the mess and other forms of life ALWAYS have to suffer

Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat9 years ago


Ellinor S.
Ellinor S9 years ago

I hope at least some turtles will be saved.

Carol Anne Lucky
Carol Anne Lucky9 years ago

Oh the poor little turtles. Just one more living thing that the moneymongers don't care one bit abiut.

Danielle S.
dani T9 years ago

Turtle eggs moved to a safer location is a good idea if it is done by those educated in handling this safely. I also feel that if they kept a percentage turtle eggs to hatch and grow to a safer age and then released back to the areas they were taken from at a later date when it would be safe to re-release them.

Janey P.
janey P9 years ago

In Indonesia they rear young turtle for safe release and while it is not the norm, it gives them a fair chance to survive. This seems to be the only hope the new generation has in all the oil slaughter. The area chosen should be carefully chosen.

Judith P.
Judith P.9 years ago

My comment was not entered but must be they are edited while you write. I suggested that we treat all those involved in this spill by omission or commission to be dragged through the oil and let the oil permeate inside and out and light a fire. Isn't that what they are doing to the wildlife. I am angry and sick of the exploitation of the environment and the recklessness and indifference of all involved. I hope the turtle transplant works and they likely have the best authorities involved who understand hatching of turtle eggs. Why not hatch them in a protected hatchery and raise the turtles until they are a sufficient size to more likely survive their release? We will be very short on turtles given all that have perished. There are organizations that can use donations, but in reality it is BP's responsibility to clean this up. Not likely to happen since the people in Alaska have yet to be paid damages. I hope the turtles hatch safely and find clean water and organisms they need to grow. We are destroying one of the most beautiful miracles in the universe. What kind of species are we?

Christine S.

Good luck little turtles- you so totally rock- Duuuude!

Rachel S.
Rachel S.9 years ago

Yes! These efforts are much needed to help protect what is left. It is clear that everyone needs to participate in the welfare of animals, and taking care of the turtles will serve us, them, and even other wild creatures in the long run.

Michelle R.
Michelle R9 years ago

Sea Turtles aren't native to the Western Border. There is a lot of boat traffic there also. How is this helping them to survive? If I was President, I would be arresting a lot of people. The negligence, low self esteem, lack of morals, or even lack of giving of your life to do what was right apparently makes a human an extremely dangerous character. Being inept, unable to make a moral decision has lead to this. All involved need to be removed from society.