Florida registered a record-breaking nesting season with at least 5,200 sea turtles nests. The state surpassed on Friday the record number of laid turtle nests.
The marine turtle conservation site at S.C. Department of Natural Resources reported on Friday the emergence of a loggerhead nest on an Isle of Palms. At least 5,200 baby turtles started to emerge all along the coast, which represents a remarkable recovery for the endangered species. Authorities at S.C. Department of Natural Resources affirmed that other projects are reporting record-breaking numbers of nest counts, such is the case of Georgia.
Georgia Reports a Record Number of 2,890 Nests
Mark Dodd, the coordinator for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Sea Turtle Program, said in an interview that Georgia had registered some increasing nesting years in a row but this year surpassed expectations and breeding goals. Dodd added that the Georgia has carried out several efforts to protect the species, and such accomplishment of 2,810 nests number is an incredible step for Georgia’s history of conservation.
Georgia’s comprehensive surveys were designed to as part of a sustained effort on the part of some people and organizations to enable the sea turtles nesting to rebound. According to Dodd, Georgia’s lowest turtle-nesting number was registered in 2004 with 354 laid nests. Between 2009 and 2009, the number reached the amount of 1,200 nests; record broke last year with 2,335. It is entirely possible that this year’s record might touch the number of 3,000 nests before the season ends.
— Loggerhead (@LoggerheadMC) July 16, 2016
“This is just a real cool milestone. We’ve got over 50 years of conservation (in the program), and we’ve got a huge number of partners. The DNR’s been coordinating things for about 30 years and we’ve put a lot of effort into it, but we rely on this whole list of partners. It’s just a tremendous amount of effort by people and organizations involved,” said Dodd.
Nevertheless, Georgia’s efforts to protect engendered species started even before comprehensive surveys were created. Jim Richardson, a UGA professor, began working with the loggerheads turtles in 1964 on Cumberland Island, whose studies have been labeled as one of the first projects in the US including loggerheads.
Dodd added that it had been such a satisfying experience to see how numerous efforts have been conducted tremendous efforts and projects even before he started working on the issue.
Even if it seems like the loggerhead is not a critical species to maintain the ecosystem, their decline in number or their complete extinction might represent an environmental problem affecting the entire ecosystem and subsequently, humans’ survival.
Similar to loggerheads, bald eagles are a threatened species. Georgia is also conducting recovering programs and efforts to protect the species. The decline in bald eagles is mainly due to improper pesticide use.
Sea Turtles Strandings
Along with the increase of sea turtles, nests has been dimmed by the alarming numbers of strandings registered this year. Strandings refer to turtles found sick or dead. This year 140 strandings have been reported so far. A situation that runs counters the estimated 20-year average of 138 strandings.
Concerned with the issue, Michelle Pate, S.C. Department of Natural Resources said that some unusual strandings had been reported with leatherbacks and loggerheads turtles, which might be associated with this year’s king tides. The leatherbacks and loggerheads have been found wandering in the marshes.
In turn, Dodd argues that the reason originating the death of sea turtles must be monitored because strandings cannot increase at the same high levels nesting does. Georgia registered in 2015 about a 28 percent of sea turtles found dead or hurt. The injuries observed in the animals seem to be caused by boats’ hits.
“Also, we don’t just look at the reproductive stage of the population. Because they’re so long-lived, they’re not sexually mature until they’re 30 or 35 years old. You really want to make sure there’s enough juveniles out there. There has to be a network of sites where they’re monitoring turtle abundance in the water and making sure that juvenile recruitment is sufficient and increasing. So, there’s a whole number of things that have to occur before we might consider a change in the status of loggerheads,” Dodd said.
— WPEC CBS12 News (@CBS12) July 16, 2016
Scientists agree that although the great increase has been reached in nesting, other aspects need to be tackled to protect sea turtles. The South Carolina Aquarium has been receiving hurt turtles to treat them. By Friday the facility had taken in 20 loggerheads, seven Kemp’s Ridley, seven green and a leatherback from South Carolina alone this year.
Source: Post & Courier