St. Lucie County is using cameras to see if coyotes are a threat to sea turtle nests

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - They say seeing is believing and that's what St. Lucie County is trying to do to protect sea turtles. Recently, someone spotted a coyote on Hutchinson Island. Now the county wants to capture it on camera.

Once a week, Marcia Kopp and other Florida Master Naturalists come to Walton Rocks on Hutchinson Island looking for sea turtle nests. On Monday they found several sea turtle nests that were raided. The eggs taken presumably by predators who left nothing but the shells behind.

The predators could be raccoons or a dog or maybe a coyote. 

"They're a new predator," says Kopp.

That's why they're setting up cameras on the beach at night. The cameras will activate when there's movement. It will then be picked up in the morning.

"Just find out if the coyotes have made it this far," says Florida Master Naturalist Luanne Hastings, "They have made it up to Indian River County but we haven't had any confirmed sightings."

Last year Indian River County lost 450 sea turtle nests to coyotes. Kopp says they know coyotes are in St. Lucie County.

"We want to see if they've hit the beaches yet," says Kopp.

St. Lucie County just started using the cameras. So far they haven't caught any coyotes on film.

St. Lucie County is encouraging people who spot or photograph a coyote to report it to the app called "IveGot1".

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