Turtle egg rescue plan announced

Scientists in the US have announced a plan to rescue sea turtle nests and eggs from the potential impacts of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The “Sea Turtle Late-Term Nest Collection and Hatchling Release Plan” has been put together by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

This aim is to collect nests at a point in the incubation cycle where there is the lowest risk of losing viable eggs.

Researchers are currently locating and marking nests.

Sandy MacPherson, FWS national sea turtle coordinator, said: “Data on the nest location and the date deposited are being closely tracked.

“This allows us certainty in timing the nest collection phase of the plan.”

Once collected, the nests will be packed in protective boxes and transported to a “climate-controlled location on the east central coast of Florida”.

They will remain there until the eggs hatch, and scientists will then release the turtles – mostly endangered loggerheads – on east central Florida beaches.

The project will start within the next few weeks and will collect nests from the Florida Panhandle and Alabama beaches in the northern Gulf area, which is at the highest risk of oil contamination.