In August 2013, Pensacola Beach had twenty sea turtle nests on its beach this season, its highest recorded number. It hosted 19 nests twice, in 1997 and in 2012. The Park has 40 turtle nests this year, which Nicholas says is a little above-average. Turtles continue to nest, so these numbers may increase. Mark Nicholas is District Biologist at Gulf Islands National Seashore.
With May 1 the beginning of sea turtle nesting season in the Florida Panhandle, preparations are being made for one of the area’s most welcome summer guests.
Five species of sea turtles are found in the Gulf of Mexico, three of which are known to nest on Pensacola Beach: the loggerhead, the green turtle, and the Kemp’s Ridley. Of those, the loggerhead is most common.