The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation has helped Sanibel Island become a prime nesting zone along the Southwest Florida coast for sea turtles such as the Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Kemps Ridley and Green Turtle. The nests are cordoned off and monitored and a fleet of island volunteers documents the status of the nests.
The care and protection of sea turtles dates all the way back to the middle of the previous century on Sanibel & Captiva. After encouragement from J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in 1959, islander Charles LeBuﬀ expanded his sea turtle monitoring and research program, paving the way for decades of sea turtle conservation work. When the program was transferred to SCCF in 1992, 133 Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) nests were laid on Sanibel while 75 nests were laid on Captiva.
Fast forward to today, and the nest counts are now up to a record-breaking 660 and 260, respectively, for the 2020 nesting season. This amazing 396% increase on Sanibel and 255% increase on Captiva is likely the result of over 60 years of concerted conservation eﬀorts both on the beaches and at sea.