What to do if you see a sea turtle hatchling on the beach

Sea Turtles are protected by the US Endangered Species Act of 1973 and Florida Statute Chapter 370. It is illegal to harm or harass sea turtles, their nests or hatchlings.

The Miami Dade County Sea Turtle Program (MDCSTCP) responds to reports of dead or injured sea turtles throughout all of Miami Dade County. Data such as species, size, and condition of turtle, are recorded on a standardized data sheet that is submitted to the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network, which in Florida, is coordinated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Collecting data on these stranding sea turtles, even those which are deceased is vital in helping to understand this species as they spend most of their lives at sea and this can make studying them difficult.  All strandings need to be responded to ASAP and information is reported to the state within 48 hours of the stranding.

If you find a dead, sick, or injured sea turtle or hatchling(s), you can contact:
Teal Kawana – 305-310-3046 with MDCSTCP directly.
You can also call FWC’s 24-hour Wildlife Alert Number at 1-888-404-3922 if we cannot be reached.

Please be prepared to answer the following questions:
1. What is the exact location of the animal?
2. Is the turtle alive or dead?
3. What is the approximate size of the turtle?
4. Is the turtle marked with spray paint?
5. What is the location of the closest access point to the turtle?
(During your phone call , you may receive further instructions from MDCSTCP staff on what to do depending on the status of the sea turtle.)