6:53 am
Fri December 27, 2013

A good year for turtles

A  Treasure

Back in June, it looked like this was shaping up as a very good year for sea-turtle nesting on the Treasure Coast. And it was! In fact, the number of nests built by green sea turtles set a record. From southern Brevard County down through Jupiter Island in Martin County, the number of green sea-turtle nests jumped to 19,000 this year from a little more than 5,000 last year. The official nesting season began March 1st and ended October 31st, and the counting season ended November 30th. The number of nests made by loggerheads – usually the most common sea turtle in these parts – was down a bit from last year. But 2012 was a record year for loggerheads, with more than 14,000 nesting sites identified. Why the big increase in sea-turtle nests? Researchers give credit to conservation efforts that started in the 1970s. People stopped killing turtles and taking their eggs. Non-human predators, such as raccoons, coyotes, grey foxes and armadillos, were trapped and removed. Artificial lighting along the beaches, which confuses the turtles, was reduced. Turtles have a natural homing instinct and return to the beaches where they were hatched. The more hatchlings that survive, the greater the number of turtles that come back to build nests and lay eggs. For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.

Coast Essay about the record number of green sea-turtle nests on our beaches.