sea turtles

Sea turtle
University of Central Florida Turtle Lab

On a flat calm day earlier this month, Dirk Jacobs was speeding south just outside Biscayne Bay in his 22-foot bay boat when he spotted something he’d not seen in a half century of fishing: hundreds of sea turtles, their heads bursting from the placid waters like popcorn.

“You know, we see turtles all the time. So boom, there was a turtle,” he said.

But then he saw another. And another. And another.

Hillsboro Beach sea turtle nest April 2020
Curtis Slagle / Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program

On Hillsboro Beach before sunrise Wednesday morning, the program manager for the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program made his rounds to survey nests — and put stakes in the sand to protect a new one.


There haven't exactly been sunbathers around. 

Rob O'Neal / Florida Keys News Service

Splinter the green sea turtle returned home to the Atlantic Ocean off Key West on Friday.

It was less than two months after she was found off Key Largo, tangled up in trap line and speared through the neck.

Courtesy Doug Mader, DVM

Brian Bohlman / Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)

Toxic blooms of red tide are the scourge of Southwest Florida’s sea turtles, who often find themselves stranded onshore or killed after ingesting too many of their deadly brevitoxins.

But researchers and wildlife veterinarians around the state are finding that what treats toxicity in humans – namely, a treatment used for drug overdoses – also works on the four-legged flippers.


The sex of sea turtle hatchlings is determined by the temperature. So as it gets hotter, there are more female turtles. That trend is worrying scientists that there could eventually be too few male turtles for the species to keep reproducing.

sea turtles
Abby Nease, Assistant Manager Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program / WLRN

As Hurricane Dorian's wrath continues to pound the Atlantic coast, concerns have surfaced about what will happen to Florida's sea turtles.

Sherrilyn Cabrera / WLRN

The Florida Keys depend on the coral reef tract and marine life for much more than just recreation. They're vital to the economy, contributing billions of dollars in tourism and travel to the region. But pollution, development and a warming ocean have had catastrophic effects on the environment. 

The Turtle Hospital

He's not from around these parts. Yet somehow he's here.

Harry, an Olive Ridley sea turtle, was found floating roughly six miles offshore Tavernier in February. He had injuries from being tangled up in a fishing net on all four flippers.   

He was treated with antibiotics, nutrition via IV, laser therapy and more, including lots of fish, shrimp and squid. He's recovered enough that he's scheduled for release at Higgs Beach in Key West at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Harry will carry a satellite transmitter for tracking.


Two dozen tiny leatherback turtles swam around in small tanks, attached by fishing lines to a system that kept them from hitting walls and hurting themselves. As an open-water species, leatherbacks don’t recognize barriers, so they are kept on leashes at Florida Atlantic University’s lab at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton.

It was lunchtime and professor Jeannette Wyneken was feeding them a concoction she perfected over the years: organic gelatin, fish oil, protein and vitamins, shaped into little squares. Leatherbacks are picky eaters, feeding mostly on jellyfish.

By Robin Sussingham, Stephanie Colombini, Steve Newborn and Cathy Carter.

They’ve had to battle shark attacks, pollution, massive beach developments and confusing light sources, but sea turtles are bouncing back.

With nesting season well underway, Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham speaks with experts about how sea turtles are faring and efforts to protect them in our state.

Madeline Fox / WLRN

Bovenizer was ready to make a beeline for the ocean before his flippers even touched sand.

The adult male loggerhead turtle was lifted out of a trailer and set on the shore at Juno Beach during his Wednesday morning release from treatment at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center.

South Florida Researcher Explains Projects To Restore Turtle Population

May 28, 2019
Ben Hicks

If you went to the beach over the Memorial Day weekend, you may have seen sea turtle nesting areas cordoned off for protection. That's because South Florida is in the midst of sea turtle nesting season, which began in March and ends in October.

The latest red tide report shows high concentrations of the toxic algae blooms in Sarasota and Collier counties. This nearly 16-month red tide event has killed more sea turtles than ever recorded.

Respiratory irritation related to red tide was also reported over the past week in Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties.