Massive Gulf Turtle Rescue Launched

Tens of thousands of eggs being moved
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2010 4:40 AM CDT
Massive Gulf Turtle Rescue Launched
The sea turtle hatchlings will be carried by hand to the sea and released.   (AP Photo/SeaWorld Orlando)

Wildlife experts scrambling to save hatchlings from the Gulf oil spill have hatched the biggest turtle rescue effort in history. Tens of thousands of sea turtle eggs will be dug up from beaches along the Gulf coast and trucked to Florida's Atlantic coast, where they will be hatched in temperature-controlled facilities then carried by hand to the ocean. The strategy is untested, experts say, but if the eggs aren't moved, currents will move the baby turtles directly into oil.

"Relocating sea turtle nests on occasion, nest by nest, in very small numbers, has been done before, but nothing has even been considered at this massive scale," a US Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman tells Reuters. "It's never been attempted anywhere in the world. " If the eggs aren't moved, he says, "it's almost certainly a death sentence. We'd expect to lose most, if not all, of them." (More sea turtle stories.)

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