05/31/2012 at 12:45pm
On Fort Myers Beach
On Monday morning, Turtle Time's Eve Haverfield called the Sand Paper with distressing news about how she and her volunteers had discovered evidence that sea turtles had been disturbed while trying to make their nests along the beach. She sent us the following report:
Unfortunately, on six separate occasions recently, sea turtles have been harassed on Fort Myers Beach.
5/14 near the Pink Shell: sea turtle was forced to crawl 370 ‘ parallel to the Gulf
5/20 south of the Holiday Inn: turtle was forced to crawl landward after nesting …in the presence of bonfires.
5/21 near Outrigger: sea turtle was forced to crawl 1150' away from the Gulf
5/23 near the Pink Shell: sea turtle was forced to crawl 1004' before returning to the Gulf
5/27 near Gulf Drive and Lanark: sea turtle was forced to crawl back and forth over 1100' parallel to the Gulf
5/28 near Lanark: sea turtle was harassed for over 225'
5/31 near Windward Passage: sea turtle was forced to make figure eights over her own tracks for 600'
In each case, the animal zigzagged repeatedly and human footprints clearly indicated what was happening!
We believe that through educating people, sea turtles will fare better. Sea Turtles are an endangered species…Businesses and residents need to make an effort to provide information so that visitors will make more informed/turtle friendly decisions. The laws (local, State and Federal) are very clear. Turtle Time has educational materials available for visitors and residents. Sea turtles need unimpeded nesting habitat to survive!!
For more information on Turtle Time, the laws that are in place to protect turtles or to report a turtle harassment or nest go to www.turtletime.org or call Eve at 239-481-5566.
Eve Haverfield and Keri Hendry