CAPTIVA, Fla. — It’s sea turtle nesting season, so hundreds of turtles have been laying their eggs on our Southwest Florida beaches.
Unfortunately, several nests have been vandalized after someone drove over them on Captiva.
I spoke with Ryan Orgera, CEO of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, says earlier today they found six sea turtle nests that appeared to be run over by a golf cart or similar vehicle.
“Unfortunately some of them had been run over so squarely that the stakes had fallen, this was really a disheartening event, ” said Orgera.
Sea turtles are endangered species.
“Sea turtles and state and federally protected species, and driving on the beach is not legal, ” said Ryan Orgera.
So far, this has been a record-breaking loggerhead nesting season with 255 nests on Captiva.
Researchers have not been able to assess how many sea turtles have survived.
“We won’t know the extent of the damage until the nests are ready to hatch, ” said Orgera.
The Lee County Sheriffs Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife are investigating, if caught that person could face criminal charges, up to $50,000 dollars in fines and up to a year in prison.
“This is more than a slap on the wrist this is a big deal, ” said Ryan Orgera.
The foundation says these type of incidents happen few and far between.
“Antagonistic behavior is not something that we generally see, but certainly someone doing something to endanger and hurt the animals is not something we usually see luckily, ” said Orgera.
The FWC encourages anyone with information to call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.