Protecting Wildlife

SCCF protects wild animals on Sanibel and Captiva through population monitoring, habitat management and restoration, scientific research, and public education. In keeping with the ethos of our sanctuary islands, we encourage residents and visitors to co-exist in harmony with our abundant wildlife. The rich biodiversity of the islands includes nearly 400 species of reptiles and amphibians, mammals, birds, and interior fish. We collaborate with government agencies, universities, organizations, and community members to protect and care for them.

With its origins in 1959, SCCF has the longest-running sea turtle monitoring and research program in Florida. Permitted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, SCCF monitors and protects hundreds of sea turtle nests each year on Sanibel and Captiva. In addition, program staff educate the public about threats that sea turtles face, respond to live and dead sea turtles that wash up on the beach, and conduct collaborative research projects. More than 80 passionately dedicated volunteers assist with daily monitoring during the nesting season.

SCCF’s monthly surveys of roughly 30 shorebird and seabird species reflect the abundance of resident and migratory birds on our islands. Our snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus) program includes daily monitoring and nest-protection activities for the state-threatened snowy plover from February through August.

With the help of volunteers, SCCF monitors roughly 10 nesting pairs of bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) on the islands and educates the public to keep nest sites and chicks undisturbed.    

From monitoring the last eastern Indigo snakes (Drymarchon couperi) found in our region, to tracking native freshwater turtles, to assessing gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) habitat, SCCF is deeply involved in herpetology conservation.

SCCF conducts a long-term monitoring project for the endemic Sanibel rice rat (Oryzomys palustris) and engages in research and outreach activities for other island mammals including coyotes (Canis latrans)

Wildlife News

Adopt a species to support our work.