Photos from Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation
Did you catch this Instagram post from SCCF a few days ago?
“We have some incredibly exciting news to share with you all,” the post said. “For the first time in SCCF history, a nesting leatherback was encountered during our nighttime surveys!! A new turtle to our beaches, we named her ‘Juniper.’ We are very hopeful this isn’t the last time we will get to see her this season!”
“Leatherbacks are an endangered species, so spotting one is always a unique experience,” Kelly Sloan, the foundation’s coastal wildlife director and sea turtle program coordinator wrote. “In Florida, they nest much more commonly on the Atlantic coast. Leatherbacks are considered a rare species on the Gulf coast.”
In fact, since 2015, FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has recorded only one other leatherback nest in Lee County.
“Most leatherbacks re-migrate to their nesting beaches every 2-3 years, so she likely won’t return next season,” Sloan wrote. “From what I understand, leatherbacks show less nest-site fidelity than other species of sea turtles. Again, we don’t have enough data on our beaches to draw any conclusions regarding site fidelity.”
For more information, check out their Instagram page here!