January 16, 2012

2011 Sea Turtle Season

While no sea turtle season could ever be considered dull, this season proved to be full of surprises. We documented more rare species nesting on the islands than ever before. Sanibel’s nesting season started with the nesting of a rare Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) and continued with a total of seven green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nests. Captiva even got in on the fun with the first green nest documented on the island since 2007. In all, Sanibel had a total of 277 nests and 443 false crawls and Captiva had 75 nests and 54 false crawls.

A green turtle nest laid on Sanibel.
2011 was the sixth best year for nesting since 1996 on the islands.  The overall hatch success (the percentage of eggs to hatch) was 67.7% for Sanibel and 70.4% for Captiva.  The emergence success (the percentage of a nest’s hatchlings to leave the nest) was 59.7% for Sanibel and 61.9% for Captiva.  This is compared to last year’s hatch success of 65.75% and emergence success of 60.3% on Sanibel and 57.34% on 45.8% respectively on Captiva.  Overall, the islands produced approximately 25,411 eggs and approximately 15,786 hatchlings reached the Gulf.

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