The SCCF sea turtle program is focused on ensuring the survival of sea turtles through nest monitoring, research, education, training, advocacy, and habitat protection. Achieving these goals is becoming increasingly complex in the face of coastal development, climate change, ocean plastics, habitat loss, and a wide variety of emerging and worsening threats.
In addition to the identifiable threats, there are also some profound mysteries that sometimes stymie sea turtle conservation efforts.
“Our brief experience with them on the beach provides an important glimpse into their lives, but relatively little is known about sea turtles from the time the tiny hatchlings enter the open ocean until they return 25 to 30 years later to nest as adults,” said SCCF Coastal Wildlife Director Kelly Sloan. “Where do they go when they leave? What route do they take to get there? Where and when are human activities more likely to affect their survival and their health?”
Understanding sea turtle behavior at each of their life stages is critical for ensuring their survival. Satellite telemetry has been used widely to explore these mysteries by tracking their movements at sea and has had profound impacts on in-water conservation efforts, connecting life history, ecology, and hazardous intersections for turtles. SCCF staff members have successfully deployed 17 satellite tags on loggerhead and green sea turtles to help make these connections for the turtles nesting in Southwest Florida.