Rare sea turtles are smashing nesting records this summer on beaches in the Southeast, including Florida, with scientists crediting the egg-laying boom to conservation measures that began more than 30 years ago.
If you went to the beach over the Memorial Day weekend, you may have seen sea turtle nesting areas cordoned off for protection. That's because South Florida is in the midst of sea turtle nesting season, which began in March and ends in October.
Sea turtle deaths continue to increase as red tide lingers off Florida's southwestern coast. While the numbers remain steady in Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties, Sarasota is experiencing a spike in cases.
As residents and visitors flock to Florida beaches over the long Fourth of July holiday weekend, wildlife officials and advocates are urging beachgoers to be mindful of nesting shorebird colonies and sea turtles.
Florida is a large nesting site for endangered sea turtles, such as the leatherback. Dr. Robbin Trindell leads the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sea turtle management program. She warns curious bystanders can inadvertently harm a nesting sea turtle.
Florida wildlife officials are continuing to monitor the aftermath of Tropical Storm Colin and its impact on sea turtle nests across the state. The storm destroyed several hundred nests, but officials say Floridians can help.