LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Island resident feels burying deceased sea turtle shouldn’t be an act that is left undone

October 8, 2021
By Boca Beacon Reader

To the Editor:

On Friday, September 24 about 8 a.m. while running along the beach I found a dead sea turtle some 50 yards north of the 1st Street beach access lying on its back with fishing wire about its neck and a hook in its mouth missing a portion of its right flipper. Sad indeed. A lifetime of public service and decades of Boca Grande visits told me I could not simply bury it but needed to report it.

More easily said than done. The 2020 4-Digit Phone Book provides specific numbers and potential solutions but even at 9 a.m., produced no human contacts. Sea Turtle Beach Code Enforcement, despite several calls, was a worthless answering service. Florida Fish and Wildlife – who have responsibility – eventually answered in Boca Raton but dropped the call when we explained the issue. The Sheriff’s Office answering system kicked in and referred me to a Fort Meyers number. Jogging across Gilchrist to the County Sheriff’s office proved fruitless – empty and yet cruisers parked outside.

The Friends of Boca Grande and later in the day Gasparilla Island Conservation finally resolved everything and Boca Grande beach patrol confirmed they were aware and trying to get State and Federal action. But as of 8 a.m. Monday, Sept. 27 … nothing. Even three days later, nothing had happened.

Boca Grande has more than adequate facilities and expertise to examine, fully evaluate what occurred and remove a rotting carcass from a public beach without waiting for a petty bureaucrat from a Federal office.  For that matter so does Lee County and numerous departments and agencies of the State of Florida. 

This is one more absent and failed ‘non service’ from our Federal government that needs to taken out of their inadequate hands and managed with some genuine Florida expertise. 

An utterly disgraceful failure of performance.

David Hoopes

Greenville, Del.

Londonderry, Vt.

Boca Grande