Green Turtles Set Another Nesting Record in 2015
Kate Mansfield, Ph.D.
University of Central Florida
We are excited to share some great news: this weekend (August, 2015) green turtles broke another nest record on the Brevard County portion of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in central Florida’s Atlantic coast. The UCF Marine Turtle Research Group has monitored these beaches since the late 70’s/early 80’s. Thirty years ago, fewer than 50 green turtle nests were laid in any given season within the stretch of beach that UCF monitored. By the early 1990’s the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge was established in part due to the high concentration of loggerhead nests in the region. The refuge protects what is now considered one of the most important loggerhead nesting beaches in the Western Hemisphere. UCF has continuously monitored about 40 km of coastline, including 20 km of the Archie Carr NWR that falls in Brevard County, Florida.
Over time within this 20 km stretch of refuge, green turtle nest numbers have grown. In part due to the establishment of the Carr Refuge, and in part due to the conservation efforts of the sea turtle community and federal and international protections, green turtle nests are now in the thousands. In 2013, the number of green turtle nests almost doubled from the previous record year—11,840 green nests were documented, surpassing the total number of loggerhead nests for the first time since monitoring began.
This weekend, we surpassed the 2013 record and the season isn’t over yet. We’ve recorded over 12,000 nests so far, again exceeding the loggerhead nests laid on the same stretch of beach. 2013 was not a fluke.
Everyone: keep doing what you are doing. Sea turtle conservation WORKS.
As Llew ‘Doc’ Ehrhart would say: “it’s time to shout from the rooftops”!