SANIBEL, Fla. — A record number of loggerhead sea turtles and their nests have been reported on Sanibel in recent months.
The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) says the island is currently averaging approximately five times more loggerhead nests and six times more loggerhead turtles when compared to figures from 40 years ago.
These turtles face numerous threats during nesting season.
"Loss of habitat is a big one from things like natural disaster events like these hurricanes that are increasing in frequency and severity," said Jack Brzoza, a biologist with SCCF.
However, Brzoza notes hurricanes are not solely to blame. He mentioned coastal development projects are contributing hazards to the sea turtles.
"With that comes issues related to lighting, including artificial lighting that can cause disorientation in both adults and hatchlings," Brzoza explained.
Despite these challenges, the SCCF sea turtle team says a positive trend of more sea turtles is evident not just in Sanibel but in the state as a whole. The group attributes at least a part of this to conservation efforts.
"We want to keep on doing our conservation efforts so that decades from now we’re seeing even higher nest counts hopefully," Brzoza emphasizes.