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First sea turtle nest of season on east end

By Staff | Apr 30, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation volunteers Irene Nolan, Paola Wierda and Darlene Rizzo with the staked loggerhead nest — the islands’ first nest of the 2019 season.

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation reported today that the first sea turtle nest of the 2019 nesting season was found on April 27 on the east end of Sanibel.

The loggerhead nest was found by volunteers Irene Nolan, Paola Wierda and Darlene Rizzo.

The nest was screened to protect it against predation; the holes in the screening are large enough for hatchlings to emerge without assistance.

SCCF coordinates monitoring of sea turtle nesting on Sanibel and Captiva with the help of about 100 volunteers.

In 2018, a total of 721 nests were laid on the two beaches, including 718 loggerhead nests, two green turtle nests, and one from the rare Kemp’s ridley. Over 38,000 hatchlings emerged from nests on Sanibel and Captiva last year.

With the start of the active season, SCCF reminded the public to keep the safety of nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings in mind. All species are listed and protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The following tips were offered to help provide a safe beach for the nesting and hatching turtles:

– Shield or turn off lights near the beach.

– Take all beach furniture, tents and umbrellas off the beach with you.

– Fill any holes you dig.

– Do not approach or disturb nesting turtles.

– Never take a flash photo of a sea turtle.

– Cover all flashlights with an approved sea turtle friendly filter; if you see a sea turtle, turn the flashlight off immediately.

– Pick up trash on the beach, especially plastic.

– Honor the pet leash law.

For more information, visit the SCCF Nature Center for the Turtle Tracks education program.