It has been eleven years since a Leatherback Sea Turtle laid a nest on Ocracoke Island — until last week. On June 20, 2023, a nest with a total of ninety-three eggs was found in the early morning hours along the beach on a routine turtle patrol.
The Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) is the largest sea turtle in the world, weighing up to 2,000 pounds and measuring up to 6.5 feet as adults.
Alexa Lyne, pictured with stretched arms standing in turtle tracks, is the National Park Service’s Scientist in Parks intern and was able to assist with finding and relocating the nest. Because the nest was right at the high tide line, park biologists relocated all 93 eggs to a safer spot on the beach.
Since keeping record, this is only the sixth Leatherback Sea Turtle to nest on Cape Hatteras National Seashore:
2022: 1 nest (Hatteras Island)
2012: 1 nest (Ocracoke Island)
2009: 1 nest (Hatteras Island)
2007: 1 nest (Ocracoke Island)
2004: 1 nest (Hatteras Island)
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