Hurricane destroys 800 turtle nests near West Palm Beach

JUNO BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Wildlife officials say Hurricane Matthew destroyed some 800 sea turtle nests in northern Palm Beach County as it skirted up Florida’s Atlantic coastline.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center data manager Sarah Hirsch tells the Palm Beach Post that the impact was minimal because it’s been a record-breaking year for nesting. She says some 15,000 nests had already hatched along the 10-mile stretch of beach monitored by the facility before last week’s storm.

But 63 percent of the 1,200 nests – most of the green turtle nests – that had not yet hatched were lost to the hurricane.

She says about 450 nests still incubating.

Florida Fish and Wildlife regulations bar officials from removing nests, even with the threat of hurricanes. The eggs are prone to movement-induced mortality.

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