Florida’s Record-Breaking Sea Turtle Nesting Season Makes National News
On October 27th, ABC News reported on this year’s record sea turtle nesting season in Florida. Not only did the article focus on the Space Coast, but STPS Communications Director Joel Cohen was interviewed and provided STPS video footage.
Although sea turtle nesting season is still ongoing, according to the Space Coast Office of Tourism and the Canaveral National Seashore, nest numbers for the Space Coast currently are:
- 20,545 loggerhead nests
- 31,893 green sea turtle nests
- 61 leatherback nests
- 3 Kemp’s Ridley nests
As the article states, sea turtle researchers have seen increases in nesting over the past decade and this positive trend has been contributed to the conservation efforts which began in the 1980’s after the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed. Joel explained, “The success story echoes that of the bald eagle and American alligators — other species on the brink of extinction that rebounded as a result of protections from the ESA. Turtles are a very slow-growing species and often do not return to nest on the beach where they were born until they are about 25 to 30 years of age, which is why the results of the conservation efforts are just now being seen.”
Even with this good news, sea turtle researchers caution that a few good nesting seasons do not mean sea turtle protections should be changed. Joel agreed saying, “Especially as climate change continues to threaten both the turtle habitat and their ability to sustain a population in the future. Not only is sea level rise destroying the beaches where turtles come to nest, the warming climate is causing a disproportionate number of females to be born, since the gender of reptiles is determined by temperature.”
Read the ABC News report and watch the video using the link below.