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Florida Keys Launches “Turtle Cam”

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FLORIDA KEYS (CBSMiami/ Florida Keys News Bureau)— Now environmental enthusiasts from all over the world can tune in to see a “turtle webcam”.

The high-definition webcam will give viewers the ability to watch infant loggerhead sea turtles hatching and emerging from their nest live from the beach in the Florida Keys.

The webcam, viewed at www.fla-keys.com, offers daytime observation of the loggerhead nest in natural light and is illuminated by infrared lighting at nighttime.

“The technology that we’re using on this webcam is high-definition, the first time ever used, and also an infrared IR-emitting light that is so important because it does not disturb any of the activities of the turtle trying to find the ambient light of the moon,” said Harry Appel, president of the Keys-based Save-a-Turtle organization, that is a

Currently focused on a nest with eggs estimated to hatch during the next week, the webcam is part of ongoing efforts in the Keys to raise awareness of sea turtles and the need to protect them.

“What people are more likely to see on the webcam is first a small miniature volcano cave-in and then a mad rush of turtles all coming out at once,” Appel said. “It could be 50 to 75 of them coming out of that hole and heading for the most ambient light they can, which is the moon.”

Loggerhead, green, leatherback, hawksbill and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles nest on beaches in the Keys and other parts of Florida, and inhabit Florida and Keys waters. All five species are considered either threatened or endangered.

The webcam is funded by the Florida Keys tourism council and its installation has been approved by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.

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