ABOUT the AUTHOR
Charles LeBuff launched his writing career in 1951 with the publication of a note in a herpetological journal. Later in the 50s, he published papers on Florida snakes and crocodilians. He started a federal career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at its Red Tide Field Investigation Laboratory in Naples, Florida in 1956. In 1958, Charles transferred to Sanibel Island after accepting the number two position on what then was known as the Sanibel National Wildlife Refuge. He and his family remained on Sanibel Island for 48 years. During his time on that barrier island he completed a 32-year career as a wildlife technician with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, retiring in 1990. During Charles’ federal tenure he and his wife and two children lived at the Sanibel Lighthouse for nearly 22 years. During that time it was headquarters for the refuge (renamed J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in 1967).
In 1961, Charles was elected president of the Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society, and in 1967 he was a founding board member of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. He is the last surviving member of that founder group.
In 1968, as an avocation, he formed a loggerhead sea turtle conservation organization known as Caretta Research, Inc., and headed that group until 1991. Charles received the first sea turtle permit issued by the State of Florida in 1972, STP-001, and he held it for 40 years. In the decades of the 70s and 80s he published many works on the biology and conservation of sea turtles. By the mid-70s the Sanibel-based organization included most all of the sea turtle nesting beaches along the Florida Gulf coast. Today’s successful sea turtle conservation efforts on the beaches of Southwest Florida evolved from Charles LeBuff’s pioneering work.
He was elected as a charter member of the first Sanibel City Council and served as a councilman from 1974 to 1980. Charles began writing seriously after his 1990 retirement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and that year his book The Loggerhead Turtle in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico was published. This is now out-of-print, but has been replaced by an updated eBook, Sea Turtles of Southwest Florida. The most successful of his early commercial books is his historical autobiography, Sanybel Light (a revised edition is available both as an eBook and a paperback [Amazon.com]). A more recent published work in paper is his 2017 Florida's Crocodile; Biology and History of a Threatened Species. In 2014 the comprehensive title, Amphibians and Reptiles of Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Florida, a book he coauthored with Chris Lechowicz was published. In 2013 he and Sanibellian Deb Gleason coauthored Sanibel and Captiva Islands, which was published by Arcadia Publishing, in March, 2013. This pictorial book is part of their Postcard History Series. His earlier Arcadia book, J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, details the history of this popular wildlife refuge, and was published in 2011. In 2004, he published The Calusan, a historical novel with Southwest Florida as its theme. The Calusan is available as both an eBook and an Amazon paperback. His Everglades Wildlife Barons is a biography about the legendary brothers, Bill and Lester Piper of Bonita Springs. This is a popular paper book (also available in eBook format) and is the only complete biography about the Pipers and their Everglades Wonder Gardens in Bonita Springs.
In 2015, Charles LeBuff released the first book in a series named The L. G. Clark South Florida Trilogy. These are modern crime novels that are spin-offs from The Calusan. Each title is available in both an eBook and a paperback format. The first book is Fearsome is the Fakahatchee. Its storyline unfolds in and around Naples, Florida. The second book in this trilogy is Lake Trafford Sniper. The third, and final book in the set is Pirating of the Duke's Cap'n. In 2017 he published Eighty-two Revolutions Around the Sun: The Life and Times of Charles LeBuff. This is a Memoir for family and close friends.
In 2018 Charles teamed up with Sanibel author Betty Anholt and they coauthored the book Protecting Sanibel and Captiva Islands: The Conservation Story. This was published by the History Press. This was to be his finale: no more extensive research and writing. But, he got another idea and wrote The Audubon Warden a historical novel. This has a publication date of January 2020.
In his retirement Charles continues a busy lecture and writing schedule. His hobbies include wildlife photography, replication of Calusa Indian artifacts, wildlife-oriented wood carving, World War II model-building, and flying his Phantom 4 drone. Charles also manages to get out in the field to engage in Burmese python-hunting from time to time with his friends.