A summer long effort has bore fruit, because sea turtles have reached a hopeful record population that might potentially continue within the next few decades. It took a lot of hard work, physical effort and attention to an endangered species, but wildlife biologist Doug Hoffman and his interns have managed a recovery in loggerhead sea turtles.
The team have successfully protected 570 eggs along the beaches of Cumberland Island just this summer, and it resulted in a record number of the turtles scattered around the shores from Carolina to Florida. The total tally of 2,292 loggerhead nests counted by scientists and volunteers from May to August has placed in the hopes that the endangered species are making a comeback.
According to Georgia Department of Natural Resources biologist, Mark Dodd, each year the numbers are growing, and the potential of removing the loggerhead sea turtles from the Endangered Species Act is becoming much stronger with every bit of effort.
And it is quite a lot. It means working all day in the hot sun, handling heavy equipment, digging holes and planting stakes, but it seems that it was worth it, because it draws them closer to their goal that they have been strenuously working toward for the past 50 years.
The numbers in Georgia had seen a bit of a dip last year, when the numbers dropped to 1,201 nests, but even with just 100 miles of coastline, the state managed to pull through and break its record each year through the valiant efforts of conservationists and volunteers. Loggerhead nests shot from the 1,760 in 2010 to 2,289 in 2013, to the number they have reached this year.
It’s quite an incredible effort to help boost the population of sea turtles, who were considered endangered almost thirty years ago.
In the 1980s, the species had reached near extinction, with only 50 known nests streaked along Florida’s beaches, but the state now has a whopping 12,000 reported green sea turtles that have made nests across the sandy shores of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.
It’s not quite over yet though, as turtles need to live for around 25 years or longer to even begin reproducing, so it may take a little while longer to see if the promising results will have a long term effect. According to Kate Mansfield from the University of Central Florida, the past 5 years have been incredibly successful, but they now need to look at the bigger picture.
Researchers, volunteers and state officials have gathered up their efforts, protecting eggs from predators, demanding fishing boats to use specific nests that will allow turtles to escape, and they will hopefully reach their goal of 2,800 nests by 2028.