Sea Turtle Nest Count Rises to Thirteen, Including Two Rare Leatherbacks

provided to Santiva Chronicle

A leatherback sea turtle crawl. Photo provided

There are now 13 sea turtle nests on the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva – 11 loggerhead and two rare leatherback nests – documented by the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation.

Since the April 22 update by SCCF, sea turtle monitoring surveys have found six nests and 15 false crawls from loggherhead turtles on Sanibel. The organization documented three nests and two false crawls from loggerheads and one leatherback nest on Captiva.

“Leatherback sea turtles are very rare on Sanibel and Captiva and this year we are extremely fortunate to have one leatherback nest on each island,” said SCCF Research Associate Andrew Glinsky. “Leatherbacks are the largest of all species of sea turtle and an uncommon visitor to Florida’s Gulf coast.”

The total of false crawls for the season so far is 21.

“The sea turtle season is beginning to pick up and soon turtles will be nesting on the beaches every night and we expect to nest counts to increase,” added Glinsky.

SCCF staff members from other departments are helping with early morning monitoring of sea turtles while the team of volunteers who usually perform the task are on hold out of caution due to COVID-19. Monitoring occurs every Monday morning from the Lighthouse on Sanibel to Redfish Pass on Captiva. Night surveys started Friday, May 1.

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