The Escambia County Sea Turtle Patrol discovered two loggerhead nests were vandalized on Pensacola Beach over the Fourth of July weekend. One nest enclosure was destroyed, while another nest showed signs of digging. Despite the disturbances, the eggs appear to be unharmed. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) and Escambia County Sheriff’s Office were notified, but enforcement is difficult without additional information. Anyone with information about these activities should report them to FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-3922.
Sea turtles are protected by both state and federal law. Harassing or disturbing sea turtle adults, hatchlings, nests or eggs can carry heavy fines and jail time. Enclosures are typically erected around nests to ensure foot traffic and other beach activities do not impact the incubating eggs. Permitted volunteers check on nests throughout the season, looking for signs of disturbance, predation and other activity. Currently, there are eight loggerhead nests on Pensacola Beach and one on Perdido Key.
“With the upcoming Pensacola Beach Blue Angels Air Show, Escambia County Marine Resources Division urges boaters and beachgoers to watch out for sea turtles, shorebirds and other coastal wildlife,” said Marine Resources Division Manager Captain Robert Turpin. “Beachgoers should respect sea turtle and shorebird nests and stay out of posted areas. Boaters should keep a sharp lookout for turtles and manatees resting on the surface and be aware of shallow seagrass areas. Both boaters and beachgoers can help protect coastal wildlife by properly stowing trash and remembering to“Leave No Trace” at the end of their day.”
If you encounter a sea turtle on the beach, stay back and turn off any lights. Do not attempt to approach or handle an adult or hatchling turtle. If you are concerned a sea turtle or other wildlife may be injured or in eminent danger, call Escambia County Marine Resources at (850) 554-5869 or (850) 426-1257 or FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-3922. All marine turtle work is performed under Marine Turtle permit #32A.