Florida Keys' high-definition (HD) "turtle cam" will let environmental enthusiasts observe loggerhead turtles emerge from their nests and make their way to the waters.

Loggerhead sea turtlea are an endangered species found in the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean, as well as in the Mediterranean Sea. The loggerhead turtle spends most of its time in salt water and the females emerge to the land just for a brief period to lay eggs.

Human intervention in the natural habitat of the loggerhead turtles is one of the reasons responsible for the decline of the species in the wild. The reproduction rate of these turtles is another reason why their species is diminishing. After laying eggs, a female loggerhead turtle does not produce eggs for the next two to three years.

The female loggerhead turtles crawl to the beaches from mid-April to October each year and lay around 100 eggs. Female turtles usually crawl to the beach during the night, lay their eggs, cover them with sand and then return to the waters.

The HD camera that will catch the newly hatched turtles is funded by the Keys Tourism Council and was approved for installation by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Harry Appel, president of the Save-a-Turtle non-profit organization based in Keys, say that the HD technology deployed on the webcam has been used for the first time. The webcam has "infrared IR-emitting light" that does not distract any of the actions of the turtles trying to find the waters guided by the moonlight.

The turtle man is currently focused on the nest with eggs that are expected to hatch in the next few days. The turtle cam is an ongoing effort by environmental activists in the Florida Keys area to raise more awareness of sea turtles along with the requirement 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," says Appel. "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."

The HD turtle webcam can be viewed live at www.fla-keys.com.

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