Sea turtle nesting up in Georgia for 4th straight year | Online Athens

8
Sep

Sea turtle nesting up in Georgia for 4th straight year | Online Athens

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Loggerhead sea turtles nested on Georgia beaches at a record-setting pace in 2013, marking a fourth straight year conservationists have reported a nesting increase along the state’s 100-mile coast.

Unofficial tallies for the loggerhead nesting season, which runs from May through August in Georgia, show the threatened species dug at least 2,284 nests to lay their eggs. That’s up from 2,241 nests counted last year.

More importantly, the numbers show loggerhead nesting in the state has continued to increase every year since 2010, bucking a two-decade trend of up-and-down fluctuations. Last year the Georgia Department of Natural Resources declared for the first time that the state’s loggerhead population seemed to be recovering after 24 years of conservation efforts. Seeing nest numbers increase to another record level in 2013 adds more evidence the turtles are rebounding, said Mark Dodd, the DNR biologist who heads Georgia’s sea turtle recovery program.

“Another big year in a row like this just gives us more confidence we’re in a recovery period,” Dodd said. “The last four years have seen increases each year in nesting, which is something we have not seen before.”

Loggerhead sea turtles, which weigh up to 300 pounds, remain a fragile population that’s been protected as a threatened species under federal law for 35 years. The turtles dig their nests on beaches from the Carolinas to Florida. Georgia’s relatively small stretch of coastline means it has one of the region’s smallest sea turtle nesting populations.

via Sea turtle nesting up in Georgia for 4th straight year | Online Athens.

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