Sea Turtle Populations On The Rise In Florida But Still Face Threats

Originally published on July 17, 2019 7:29 pm

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.

We talk about how efforts by sea turtle monitoring groups have contributed to populations of some species increasing dramatically over the past few decades.  

RELATED: It's Sea Turtle Nesting Season For Florida's Gulf Coast

We learn about the many threats these turtles continue to face, including habitat loss from development and sea level rise.

And we talk about why people should care about protecting sea turtles. We learn that besides being cute, sea turtles play vital roles in keeping ocean ecosystems healthy and can help control populations of other marine life.

RELATED: Florida Aquarium Sea Turtle Rehabiliation Center Opens In Apollo Beach

Our guests include:

Joe Widlansky, also known as “Turtle Joe,” vice president of operations for the nonprofit Sea Turtle Trackers in St. Pete Beach.

Dr. Ari Fustukjian, senior staff veterinarian at the Florida Aquarium, which just opened its Turtle Rehabilitation Center in Apollo Beach.

We also hear from Melissa Bernhard, a senior biologist with Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium and its Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program, who speaks with Florida Matters reporter Cathy Carter as they tour turtle nesting sites along Lido Key in Sarasota.