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SCCF call to action on damaged sea turtle nests

By Staff | Jul 28, 2020


I am saddened and angered by the recent events on Captiva. In case you have not heard, someone drove a vehicle over six of our sea turtle nests – and by ours I mean yours and mine. The incident is under investigation by state and county authorities. Our wildlife is a shared responsibility and a shared gift, and we are blessed with a truly extraordinary array of wild critters on our islands.

In a time where everything seems off kilter, where angst and frustration seem to be the most common public emotions, this destructive event targeting sea turtle nests is particularly disheartening. In the midst of our collective outrage, I hope you find solace knowing that the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation works day and night to provide a better future for our sea turtles and environment. In this midst of this senseless tragedy against nature, note how nature is once again proving to be the great unifier.

These criminal actions clearly do not represent the intent of the rest of us, and they do feel like an invasion of sorts. We have some of the most invested, dedicated communities you could ever imagine. The arrival of the sea turtles is a beloved annual event, one that Captiva and Sanibel have chosen to celebrate and protect. This upends the joy and hope that these turtles represent for us all. I urge us all to channel this outrage by aiming it toward something good. Let’s be change agents rather than just plain angry. Let’s unite in the cause of helping sea turtles survive for future generations.

The Linsmayer family has asked me to share the action they have chosen to take to turn this devastating news into a rallying cry for continued care and monitoring of our nesting sea turtles. Linda and Nick have pledged a $1,000 gift towards our coastal wildlife monitoring costs, and hope other concerned islanders will join them. Your generosity will be a strong and positive reply to this sick and as yet unsolved crime. To donate, visit “https://donorbox.org/donate-to-sccf”>donorbox.org/donate-to-sccf.

Whether or not you can join this call for programmatic support, please engage in these other ways to make a difference:

– Talk to your friends and family about their behaviors and how they affect our marine wildlife.

– Make sure that you and your neighbors respect lighting ordinances, so that the glow of our houses and cities does not endanger the hatchlings as they march to the Gulf of Mexico:

– Do not use flashlights/cell phone lights (very common with shellers on our islands).

– Turn off or pull blinds over interior lights, including any lights visible from the beach.

– Pick up fishing line and other plastic you see on the beach and dispose of it properly.

– Make sure you are buying sustainable seafood that does not endanger sea turtles (pole and line tuna, for instance).

– Never leave beach furniture or anything on the beach at night, when nests hatch and mamas lay nests.

– Please fill in any holes that you or others may have dug so that hatchlings don’t get stuck in their first unsteady trek to the sea.

Whether sending a tax-deductible gift, or making these behavioral changes your own, you will be supporting the efforts of our tireless coastal wildlife staff and volunteers by investing in brighter futures for our sea turtles.

With 255 nests identified on Captiva’s beaches as of July 28, we are witnessing a record-breaking year worthy of celebration. What a testament to our combined efforts and your invaluable support.

Thank you for being our invaluable partners in conservation.

Ryan Orgera is the chief executive officer of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. Founded in 1967, the SCCF is dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed.