With more than two months still to go in sea turtle nesting season, 2015 already is a record-breaking year, according to Loggerhead Marinelife Center officials in Juno Beach.
As of Wednesday there have been 15,261 nests recorded on the 9.5 miles of beach that LMC monitors north of Donald Ross Road. The nesting season runs March 1 to Oct. 31.
“It is amazing to see such record numbers. Although we cannot know for sure, we hope that it is an indication that the populations of both the loggerheads and greens are rebounding due to 30 years of conservation efforts, not just here but around the world,” said Charles Manire, LMC’s director of research and rehabilitation.
These numbers include 10,430 loggerhead, 213 leatherback and 4,618 green sea turtle nests. The previous record was 13,173 total nests in 2012.
About 50 injured sea turtles, such as a recent one named Amanda, are released into the Atlantic Ocean annually from LMC. About 2,000 hatchlings are released annually by the center.
LMC researchers mark sea turtle nests and crawls on 10 miles of north county beaches using GPS units. A percentage of the nests are marked with wood stakes and monitored during incubation.
LMC researchers have marked more than 1,000 sea turtle nests so far this season. Nests are checked daily for signs of hatchling emergence, erosion, tampering or if a predator has tried to dig up the nest. The data provides information on the number of hatchlings produced.
Harming or harassing sea turtles, their nests or hatchlings is illegal. Sea turtles are protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1972 and Florida Statute Chapter 370.
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