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Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins May First

John Davis, WGCU

Sea Turtle nesting season officially begins May1 in Southwest Florida. Experts are reminding residents and visitors to observe ordinances designed to protect nesting activity.

Lighting ordinances along Southwest Florida beaches require residents to turn off or shield lights after dark that could cast light on the beach. “That includes lighting from buildings, streetlights and flashlights because those can all disorient nesting females and hatchlings,” said biologist and Sea Turtle Program Coordinator Kelly Sloan with the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation.

Sloan also urges beachgoers not to leave any items behind.  “You can remove all of your beach furniture; tent, umbrella, anything like that because those things can interfere with sea turtle nesting,” said Sloan.   “And of course you want to keep the beach free of litter for a variety of reasons, but the litter can attract predators to the sea turtle nests which can cause additional problems.”

The Southwest Florida region’s first loggerhead sea turtle nest of the year was documented on Sanibel April 29th.  Although threatened Loggerhead turtles nest most prolifically in Southwest Florida, the number of endangered Green sea turtle nests broke records last year.  Sloan said biologists can’t predict whether the rise in Green sea turtle nests will continue this year.  The nesting season ends October 31.

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