Federal workers remove sea turtle eggs from a nest in Alabama's Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge on June 27.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently began arranging the relocation of some 70,000 rare sea turtle eggs from 700 Gulf Coast nests in the path of the BP oil spill.
(See related video: "Gulf Turtle Eggs Relocated.")
All seven of the world's sea turtle species—four of which nest in the Gulf—are considered threatened or endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
(Gulf Oil Spill Pictures: Birds, Fish, Crabs Coated.)
If left alone, Gulf sea turtle hatchlings—which crawl through sand layers to leave their underground nests—could get injured or killed through contact with buried oil on their way out to sea, said Riley Hoggard, a resource-management specialist for Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Many turtles annually nest on the protected seashore, which includes sites in both Florida and Mississippi.
(See sea turtle pictures.)
In part to address such threats, the babies were hatched in a special facility in a warehouse at eastern Florida's Kennedy Space Center and are being released on several Atlantic Ocean beaches throughout summer 2010—on the other side of the state from the Gulf.