A Florida Wildlife Group is urging beach goers to fill in their holes for the safety of marine life after four sea turtles were found trapped in a large hole. According to Southern Living, Holmes Beach Code Enforcement Officer Jayson Clayton discovered the turtles during a routine morning drive when he went to go fill the hole he spotted. Clayton shared that he sometimes fills in as many as 10 holes in one day, and this was the first time he has found hatchlings in one.
“Large holes are often a death sentence for tiny hatchlings on their way to the ocean. Trapped, they become dried out and dehydrated and end up dying in the sun,” according to Southern Living.
Clayton called on the help of nonprofit Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch (AMITW) who helped rescue all four hatchlings and return them safely to the sea. The nonprofit shared on Facebook, “Fill in your holes! These four hatchlings were found by Holmes Beach Code Enforcement this morning. They were stuck in the hole using up energy they needed for their long swim to the floating sargassum line where they will spend the next few years,” adding “You can prevent this! Fill in your holes and spread the word that by filling our holes and leaving the beach flat, we can all help share the beach with sea turtles!”
Director Kristen Mazzarella told WTSP, that Anna Maria Island has 338 turtle nests currently. She explained that this time of year, there are both nesting turtles and hatchlings. Both are facing human-induced threats including large holes dug by beachgoers in which they can get trapped and furniture left on the beach which can entangle them. Mazzarella urged beachgoers to fill in their holes, knock down their sandcastles, pick up trash, and leave the beach “clean, dark, and flat” when they are done visiting.