Georgia Coastal Islands Welcome Sea Turtles

June 4, 2015 by

The Ossabaw Island sea turtle nesting is off to a great start. In fact, Jekyll Island’s, St. Catherine’s Island’s and Cumberland Island’s nesting seasons are off to a great start as well. This year, beach patrols have been counting more sea turtle returns than in years past, creating a lot of excitement for Georgia coast residents.

“Dr. Brian Shamblin, a sea turtle researcher at the University of Georgia, has predicted a high nesting number this year,” said

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Kimberly Andrews, research coordinator at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island.

Biologists with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources monitor the state’s coastline for nesting sea turtles. Researchers at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center will continue to watch Jekyll Island’s shore until the end of nesting season.

At nearby Ossabaw Island, WaterWays Township residents have sea turtles hatching in their own backyards! With these beautiful animals in such close proximity, here are a few safety precautions to ensure this endangered species stays around for another million years:

  • Do not walk on the beach with a flashlight or shine a light in the sea turtle’s 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.
  • Do not take pictures using flashes. This high-intensity light can be even more disturbing than the flashlights.
  • Stay out of sight of the turtle until she begins laying eggs, otherwise you may scare her back into the sea.
  • For your safety, stay away from the turtle’s head. Sea turtles, especially loggerheads, have very strong jaws and can harm you if provoked.
  • Do not handle the eggs or put any foreign objects into the nest. You can introduce bacteria or injure the eggs.

This story was an adaptation of an original article, “Sea turtle nesting off to a great start,” written by Donna Stillinger for The Brunswick News. To read the entire article, visit For more facts surrounding Georgia’s sea turtle conservation, visit