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Sea turtles use light as a navigation tool, instinctively moving toward light at night. Sand dunes typically obscure the night’s natural light from their view, and this instinct to follow the light allows them to then find the sea. But when artificial lights shine above the sand dunes, sea turtles can become disoriented and wander inland to their death.
The Hillsboro Inlet Entrance Lighthouse in Pompano, Florida casts an extremely bright, 1,000-watt light onto the beach that attracts sea turtle hatchlings and lures them to their doom. The U.S. Coast Guard is currently evaluating the lighthouse and its effect on endangered sea turtles. It is unclear whether the lighthouse still serves a valid navigational role; its continued operation would likely only be cosmetic and historical. Unfortunately this issue has been inaccurately spun as a choice between sea…
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