MELBOURNE, Fla. - Turtle eggs laid on the beach ahead of Hurricane Ian are scattered for miles, destroyed.
Betty Gonzalez photographs wildlife in her free time. She lives in Brevard County and focuses her efforts there. She says she's always had a soft spot for turtles and used to volunteer with the park service at Playalinda Beach, caring for them. So she was devastated the first time she went out after Ian passed through.
"There’s just thousands of eggs all over the place, so it’s sad," said Gonzalez. "And there’s nothing you can do. And then when you see them, and you think, ‘Okay, these are going to make it. Then you come the next day, and they’ve just been washed, even more, it’s not fun."
She says the eggs she saw were mostly from green turtles – she didn’t see any loggerheads. She explained, green turtles typically hatch later in the year.
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"It’s just sad. I know there’s so much destruction on the west coast that’s way worse than what we’re experiencing. But I love turtles and to see that many turtles, it’s so sad."
She isn’t sure what a loss like this will do to the population overall but is worried about the damage to the eggs and the dunes.
"I’ve seen it before, but never this bad. It’s never fun to see that many turtle eggs," said Gonzalez.