First sea turtle nest found in South MS since 2018

Beach crews have found the first sea turtle nest in South Mississippi in four years.

Officials say a Harrison County Sand Beach crew that was cleaning up found what appeared to be turtle tracks just east of the Pass Christian Harbor.

They protected the area and called the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies. IMMS Stranding Coordinator Theresa Madrigal received the call, tracked the area, and confirmed the nest’s location and marked the area off with stakes and flagging tape.

The area is clearly marked to protect the nest from harm by any beach maintenance equipment while the eggs are incubating. Madrigal said, “Once we have the nest hatch out, we will do what is called an excavation where we’ll dig the eggs up, and we’ll count everything, release any straggler hatchlings that may be left inside, and also just collect data to determine various different things. We’re going to be looking at species, and other factors that may be in play.”

Scientists say the Mississippi Sound and Gulf of Mexico are important sea turtle habitats, but the 2010 Oil Spill and the 2019 opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway hurt the turtle population. IMMS Director Dr. Moby Solangi said, “Since 2018, we didn’t have any nesting news and now that these animals are coming back, it’s a good indication that the habitat is slowly getting back to normal.”

IMMS kindly requests that the public refrain from disturbing the nest. They will keep everyone updated on the nest, especially when they are expected to hatch.

Categories: Featured, Local News, News