Florida's Hillsboro lighthouse navigates turtles to their death

Sea turtles use light as a navigation tool, instinctively moving toward light at night. Sand dunes typically obscure the night’s natural light from their view, and this instinct to follow the light allows them to then find the sea. But when artificial lights shine above the sand dunes, sea turtles can become disoriented and wander inland to their death.

The Hillsboro Inlet Entrance Lighthouse in Pompano, Florida casts an extremely bright, 1,000-watt light onto the beach that attracts sea turtle hatchlings and lures them to their doom. The U.S. Coast Guard is currently evaluating the lighthouse and its effect on endangered sea turtles. It is unclear whether the lighthouse still serves a valid navigational role; its continued operation would likely only be cosmetic and historical. Unfortunately this issue has been inaccurately spun as a choice between sea turtles and a beloved, historic lighthouse. But in fact the lighthouse need not be at risk as long as simple steps are taken to give Florida’s turtles a fighting chance.

 
Please contact LTJG Andrew Haley from the US Coast Guard and tell him about the 9 simple steps that can be taken to protect endangered sea turtles. Simply fill in the form on the right and click 'Send'. You can also edit the letter to your liking - personal letters carry much more weight and prove more effective than form letters.
 

 

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