According to the conservationists, rare sea turtles are expected to come again on the coasts of Georgia and Carolinas, after the last year’s total number of the nests surpassed the records.
The statistics of this Monday showed that loggerhead sea turtles had already filled 62 nests with eggs on the beaches in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina since May 1st when the nesting season began.
There are several types of giant turtles protected by federal law. These turtles can reach a weight of 300 pounds, and they will continue to lay their eggs until the end of August.
Scientists do not know the final number of 2016 yet, but based on the last year’s results, it is expected to be high. According to the wildlife biologist, Mark Dodd, coordinator of Georgia’s sea turtle recovery program for the state DNR (Department of Natural Resources), the number of eggs will be above the average this year.
However, sea turtles do not lay eggs every year, their nesting period being based on a fluctuation of a two healthy years followed by a slight decline. The statistics showed that 2,292 nests were reported in Georgia last year, whereas North and South Carolina had much lower numbers.
This year the sea turtles started nesting ten days earlier than normal possibly due to warmer ocean temperatures. According to sea turtle program coordinator for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Matthew Godfrey, we might assume that this year the number of nests will be even higher than last year’s. Still, it is pretty early to be sure.
On the other hand, Florida is the most popular area in the U.S. where a total of 89,295 loggerhead turtle nests were registered last year. The statewide nesting program coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Anne Meylan, explained that Florida has 216 beaches on which nests were reported last year.
Until now, South Carolina and Georgia have reported 27 loggerhead nests, whereas North Carolina had just eight nests. During the nesting season, state and federal wildlife agencies as well as teams of volunteers inspect the beaches each morning to keep count of the new eggs. They also use a protective net to defend the nests against predators.
According to Doug Hoffman, National Park Service biologist, if the sea turtles will keep nesting at this rate, there is the chance of having 600 nests by the end of the season.