Airmen from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., either have a soft spot for baby sea turtles or just like interfering with Darwinism.
Loggerhead turtles, native to the Tyndall area, don’t stand much of a chance of reaching adulthood and only the strongest of the little cryptodira make it to adulthood. The loggerhead is a “threatened” species being thinned out by fishing trawlers, ocean polluting and electric shore lighting that interferes with their nesting habits near the shore.
Well the airmen of Tyndall’s 325th Civil Engineer Squadron Natural Resources have taken it upon themselves to help the critters out by giving them a lift to the shoreline and sending them off into the ocean to battle it out with cruel mother nature. According to an Air Force News story:
“We go to check the nests daily to see if there are any new ones or if any have hatched,” said Senior Airman Jake Wagner, 325th Civil Engineer Squadron, Natural Resources. “If there are no new tracks or they haven’t hatched we ride by the nests because it takes 60 days for them to hatch after they are laid.”
Airman Wagner and Airman 1st Class Steven Sanders, 325th CES Natural Resources, have spent their mornings for the past few months learning, training and working with the sea turtles.
“I enjoy helping endangered animals,” Airman Sanders said. “I’m proud that I am able to help the baby turtles reach the shoreline.”
The airmen also document nests, cover vulnerable ones with screens and even relocate some nests to protect them from natural predators. Natural Resources estimates that only one out of every 1,000 loggerheads make it to adulthood.