Project Title: Assessing different sea turtle nest protection measures against coyotes
Project Manager: Natalie Montero & Dr. Mariana Fuentes
Organization: Florida State University (Research and Educational Institute)
Grant Amount: $12,412.59
Summary: Introduced terrestrial predators, such as coyotes (Canis latranus), are a serious threat to endangered sea turtles during their earliest life stages. In Florida, depredation of nests is a major threat to the Northern Gulf of Mexico (NGM) loggerhead Recovery Unit. Between 2013 to 2017, a total of 778 nests were laid at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park by loggerhead and green sea turtles with 34.7% of those being depredated by coyotes. Therefore, the overarching goal of this study is to inform future management of sea turtle nest depredation by coyotes. This will be achieved by evaluating the effectiveness of three predator deterrent techniques (self-releasing cage, plastic cage, and self-releasing screen) at the Wilderness Preserve section of SJP State Park as well as using cameras to catch depredation attempts and events. If treated nests are still being depredated, the footage can provide insights into how coyotes are getting around the treatment (e.g. self-releasing wire screen and cages) and they might need to be changed/improved to be more efficient.