The first sea turtle nest on the Mississippi mainland in four years has been discovered by beach personnel.
Just east of Pass Christian Harbor, a crew from Harrison County Sand Beach cleaning up discovered what seemed to be turtle footprints, according to officials.
They established a protective perimeter around the location and made a call to Gulfport’s Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, which traced the footprints to a nesting place that is now delineated with poles and tape.
According to Moby Solangi, president of the marine studies group, the eggs presumably come from a protected loggerhead sea turtle or an even rarer Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, which is the most severely endangered type of sea turtle.
Not until the eggs hatch in 50 to 60 days will the precise species of turtle be determined. Only one in ten thousand sea turtle eggs mature into adults. According to Solangi, who spoke to The Sun Herald in Biloxi, turtles have many nests over a season and lay between 60 and 100 eggs in each one.
Despite unsubstantiated reports of nests on abandoned barrier islands, this is the first sea turtle nest on Mississippi’s mainland since 2018.
Important sea turtle ecosystems including the Mississippi Sound and Gulf of Mexico were harmed by the 2010 oil spill and the Bonnet Carré Spillway’s inauguration in 2019, according to Solangi.
“This is encouraging after all the environmental catastrophes we’ve experienced. When (turtle numbers) are declining, the ecology in which they thrive is having trouble. Animal reproduction indicates that conditions have improved, according to Solangi.