SC Staff Report
The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation has reported more than 25 individuals and families have met and exceeded the Linsmayer family’s challenge to raise funds in support of the organization’s sea turtle nest monitoring efforts after six nests were extensively damaged on Captiva in late July.
While the crime remains unsolved, the Linsmayer family chose to take action by pledging a generous gift towards SCCF’s coastal wildlife monitoring costs and hoped other concerned islanders would join them.
SCCF Sea Turtle Volunteer Stephanie Plein discovered five damaged sea turtle nests July 26 on Captiva and a sixth damaged nest was reported by a resident and visitor the next morning. The nests appeared to have been run over by a golf cart or similar vehicle.
Since all five Florida sea turtles are listed as endangered or threatened, it is illegal to harm, harass or kill any sea turtles, their eggs or hatchlings. It is also illegal to operate a motor vehicle on Captiva’s beach without a permit.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are seeking tips as they continue to investigate the incident. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.
SCCF will share updates on the damaged nests after they are inventoried in the coming days and weeks. Anyone interested in making a donation can do so at sccf.org.
However, a monetary donation is not the only way to make a difference. SCCF has suggested the following:
Talk to friends and family about their behaviors and the effect on marine wildlife
Never leave beach furniture or anything on the beach at night, when nests hatch and females lay nests. Fill in any holes in the sand, so hatchlings do not become stuck as they make their way to the water
Make sure to respect lighting ordinances, so the glow of the lights do not disorient the hatchlings as they make their way to the Gulf of Mexico. This includes pulling the blinds to shield interior lights and turning off exterior lights visible from the beach after the sun goes down. Additionally, do not use flashlilghts or cell phone lights, common among shellers, on the beach after dark.
Pick up fishing line and other plastic on the beach and dispose of it properly. Buy sustainable seafood that does not endanger sea turtles – pole and line tuna for instance