Green sea turtles have been closely watched since 1978 when they joined the list of federally threatened species. According to ABC News, in the decade that followed their addition to the list, green sea turtles averaged fewer than 50 nests a year. With only 1 in 10,000 baby sea turtles surviving into adulthood, protected nesting grounds are critical to the species’ survival.
Decades into the effort to save the species, baby sea turtle survival rates remain rather grim numbers, but another figure is on the rise. ABC News reported that green sea turtles rebounded from a not so great nesting season last year to have one of their strongest seasons ever.
Green sea turtles had a banner year along the Brevard County shoreline with over 12,000 nests dug along the Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge’s beaches. Florida Today reported that this is a new record for the refuge, surpassing a previous one in 2013 of 11, 839 nests and the first time over 12,000 nests have ever been dug.
The newspaper also reported that Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge is the most important sea turtle nesting ground in North America. It’s the site of 80 percent of the species’ nests in the country, which is a lucky coincidence since the refuge is within a state where the species is considered endangered and not only federally threatened.
Loggerhead and leatherneck sea turtles also nest along Brevard County shorelines. In fact, Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge is the largest nesting ground for the former in the Western Hemisphere.
Indialantic volunteers show their support of for baby sea turtles one darling hatchling at a time. Last month, Hometown News reported that the Sea Turtle Preservation Society has been rehabilitating baby sea turtles after predators dug up their nests.
Efforts to save the tiny creatures are conducted at the Brevard Zoo’s Sea Turtle Healing Center. Hometown News reported that the Sea Turtle Preservation Society hopes to also partner up with the U.S. Coast Guard to release the baby turtles in open water 20 miles off Port Canaveral.
Baby sea turtles have to overcome incredible odds to survive, but this year’s record number of nests is a sign that the species will endure, and perhaps one day, thrive.