(USA Today) A nesting mother loggerhead sea turtle was run over by a vehicle and killed on Perdido Key Wednesday morning.
Local marine scientist Christian Wagley said the endangered sea turtle apparently became disoriented by a street light and wandered from the Gulf across the busy Perdido Key Drive, near the Spinnaker Condominiums.
According to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation report on the death, a light post just north of beach access No. 3 is being blamed for disorienting the turtle.
"This is a big deal," Wagley said. "Only 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000 hatchlings survive to adulthood, so this is a really big deal."
Loggerheads live roughly 50 to 67 years and females don't mate until the age of 17 to 33. They only reproduce every two to four years.
This death comes as the nesting season, which historically begins May 1, is getting off to late start this year. It is only now beginning to heat up.
Wagley believes this death is not only tragic, but will also fuel the debate about four-laning Perdido Key Drive.
"A lot of residents are opposed to that because it would encourage high speed (driving)," he said.
That does not mix well all the wildlife on the Key, he said, including many threatened and endangered species like the nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings.