Sea turtles along the U.S. coastline are on the right track for population recovery, announced experts on the matter.
The good news come after a count of nests has been completed from Florida to the Carolinas and a hopeful discourse is announcing that a 37-year long protection has proved fruitful.
Loggerhead turtles were placed under the protection of the Endangered Species Act as a threatened species almost 40 years ago. Now, conservation efforts have yielded great results considering that in the 1980s the species was almost extinct.
After a slump experienced last summer, researchers heading the sea turtles conservation efforts announced that this summer nesting season is record-breaking. In Georgia, the preliminary results of the count show 2,292 loggerhead turtle nests were dug from May until August. This nesting season is the fifth in the past six years when Georgia breaks the record established in the previous year.
Mark Dodd who leads the conservation efforts with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources stated:
“Every big year we get, the more confident we are in that conclusion that we’re in recovery period. So we feel really good about it”.
In Florida, the sea turtle nesting season runs through October. Nonetheless, the sea turtles nests counted here so far mirror the same record-breaking trend. 12,000 green sea turtles nest confirm this hopeful news. According to Kate Mansfield who leads the Marine Turtle Research Group with the University of Central Florida, the nests found along the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge are certainly a record.
Particularly if we consider that during the 1980s the total number of sea turtles nests along the coastline of Florida bearly reached 50. Nonetheless, these good news should be taken with a pinch of salt, says Mansfield. As sea turtles take 25 years to reach reproductive phase, it might take a while longer to fully understand if the current trend is a fluke of luck or a real, long-lasting recovery.
At the same time, both Dodd and Mansfield agreed that some thought should be given to the fact that the loggerhead sea turtles females don’t lay eggs yearly. So after the discouraging dive registered last year in sea turtle nest number, this year’s record accounts could be just a natural follow-up.
Still, conservation efforts nationwide must be credited. Particularly the involvement of volunteers who are heading out to nesting beaches from Carolina to Florida and covering the nests with a mesh designed to fend off predators feeding on sea turtles eggs.
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