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turtle interns Rookery Bay Reserve resource management specialists work in cooperation with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Collier County Natural Resources and the Conservancy of SW Florida to preserve this threatened species. With much assistance from volunteers and summer interns, staff patrol the beaches of Sea Oat Island, Cape Romano, Kice Island, and other islands in the Ten Thousand Islands five days a week during nesting season to locate nests and place cages over them so that the eggs will be protected from predation by raccoons. Each nest contains between 80 to 120 eggs.

After roughly 60 days, baby turtles emerge from the nests under the cover of darkness and crawl to the water, swimming until they reach relative safety in seaweed beds before being swept away on currents across the sea. Resource managers follow up on each nest to document the number of hatched eggs to get a better understanding of nesting success.

Although cages cannot protect nests from inundation by high tides or fire ant predation, the incorporation of caging efforts has increased nesting success in the reserve tremendously. Rookery Bay Research Reserve staff rely on help from interns and volunteers to protect and monitor the nests inside reserve boundaries.

Catch up on our sea turtle interns' latest adventures at their blog

Additional support for this program is provided through the Friends of Rookery Bay's Adopt-a-Nest program. Learn more

Sea Turtle Nesting Update through Oct. 8 

Nesting Locations   Nests Caged
Total False Crawls Nests Complete
 This Year   Last Year  This Year Last Year This Year Last Year Disoriented
Keewaydin Island 356 433 433 518 345 53 1
Sea Oat Island  9 24 3 14 7 1 0
Kice & Cape Romano  175 135 167 127 147 70 0
10,000 Islands 96 125 139 116 82 66 0
Rookery Bay Totals 636 717 742 775 441 190  0 
Collier County Totals 1595 1635 1587 1988 1070 743 31

Nest monitoring on Keewaydin Island is managed by the Conservancy of SW Florida. Nest monitoring in the Ten Thousand Islands is managed cooperatively with Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Nesting totals courtesy of Collier County Parks and Recreation Department.

Learn more about the sea turtles of the reserve.

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