Once threatened, sea turtle nests arise along the coast of Georgia


They are not much more than a silver dollar when they move, struggling out of sand and heading towards the sea, most of which do not survive until they are adults.

But if their mothers have no sign, these loggerhead sea turtles are once in such trouble they were named as "threatened" by the federal government four decades ago, making a comeback off the coast of Georgia.

And it is beginning to look as if 2019 could be a significant year, in terms of the number of female torts that nest there.

From Wednesday afternoon, researchers discovered 1,779 sea turtle nests along the Georgia coast this season, which is still not semi-finished.

Compare this to last year, when the number of nests counting for the whole season was 1,742. (Season length varies, but most nest occurs between May and September, with a peak in June or July.) The year was 2016, when almost 3,300 nests were counted along the coast of Georgia.

“So far it's comparable to 2016, which was the biggest year recorded,” said Doug Hoffman, a wildlife biologist with the National Park Service, on patrol efforts on Cumberland Island on the south side of the coast.

“I think we will meet that and we are likely to break it, as we go along.”

In Georgia, most turtles are nested in their main quarries (Caretta caretta is the scientific name), but some turtles from other species, such as green and leather leather, then get a nest.

Ten years ago, the accommodation had great trouble. The federal government designated it as a “threatened” species in 1978. But in Georgia and in neighboring states, it appears that it has improved – particularly in the last decade – due to conservation efforts.

Many groups have helped sea turtles by environmental protection where they live; supporting the regulated use of tools such as turtle exclusion devices, conflicts that allow large sea animals to escape from nets of fishermen and shrimp hairs, if caught; and sometimes nests are physically relocated to move them from dangerous spots.

Joe Pfaller, research director of Caretta Research Project, showed a conservation group located in Savannah, Ga., Two attempts to help the population.

Efforts have been made to protect turtle nests about 40 years ago, and he said, and since the logs take about 30 years to achieve sexual maturity, there are many safe shells going age. (Many of the adult turtles have more than 200 pounds.)

In addition, he said that coastal waters are safer for turtles because of the increased use of turtle sludge devices.

Dr Pfaller said that while all species of marine turtles are growing well in the world, the sub-occupancy of back-logs is focused well on Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. “I think one of the reasons why sea turtles have a success story here is that the community is very co-operative,” he said.

But when it comes to encouraging nesting data this year, it is best not to count our turtles before they arrive. The season is not embedded, and there were years when the nesting rate started high and then fell.

In the case of female hollow trees, the nesting process is slow and slightly fluffy. (They are much more elegant in the water.) After the night, they hit the sand to find a good spot, which can be up to 45 minutes if the tide is low. They then set in and dig a small room with their rear paws, which can lay in more than 100 eggs.

They bury this treasure and return their way to the water, they are unlikely to see their offspring again.

Embedding is a big job. Along the coast, there are 13 outfits – a combination of government entities and other organizations – which monitors the process, and coordinates each of them with the state and submits their data the same online database.

These groups are co-ordinated by Mark Dodd, a wildlife biologist with Georgia's Natural Resources Department. He said that most of the people who do patrol do loggerhead nests in the morning, after the turtles come and gone.

These early rises include Mr Hoffman and his staff on Cumberland Island. "Every morning," he said, "you are going to get a beautiful sunrise, that's sure."

For each nest they receive, they transfer one egg to use for example DNA. This enabled researchers to build a database that allows them to identify nesting mothers without using tracking devices, Mr Dodd said.

But another patrol, such as Dr.. Pfaller, which operates on Wassaw Island at the northern end of the state coast, out at night. He and volunteers engage with nesting mothers laying eggs.

Loggerheads goes into a trancelike state when they lay eggs, said Dr. But after the trance, “you can work around them, measure them, collect samples if you need,” he said. The volunteers will connect tracking devices to the logger ones so that they can continue their movements.

All these efforts are part of a bigger story about how wildlife conservation can work if it is co-operative and durable over time, Mr Hoffman said.

“There have been many people involved with fifty turtles in Georgia in the last 50 years,” he said. “It's a great effort with volunteers, professional biologists and others who help them, so we're very optimistic.”


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