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Endangered Sea Turtles Make A Comeback In Florida

Endangered Sea Turtles Make A Comeback In Florida

During the BP oil spill, endangered sea turtles were burned alive during clean-up efforts, and thousands of unhatched sea turtle eggs had to be evacuated to avoid contamination from oil washing ashore.

But all is not lost for marine animals in the Gulf of Mexico.

A Duke University study recently found that the number of endangered leatherback sea turtle nests at 68 beaches in Florida has increased by 10.2 percent a year since 1979.

The growth has likely been fueled in part by improved monitoring and protection of nesting beaches over the last 30 years, say study authors, but other less benign factors may also be at work.

“Nesting is increasing even where beach protection has not been enhanced,” said Larry B. Crowder, director of the Duke Center for Marine Conservation. “Changing ocean conditions linked to climate variability may be altering the marine food web and creating an environment that favors turtles by reducing the number of predators and increasing the abundance of prey, particularly jellyfish.”

Some beaches surveyed for the study posted annual increases of more than 16 percent, others as low as 3.1 percent.

Reduced populations of large predators, including the collapse of shark populations in the northwest Atlantic over the past decade, may be playing an even larger role in the turtle boom by decreasing at-sea mortality rates for juvenile and young adult turtles, says the study’s lead author, Kelly Steward.

Related Reading:

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Image Credit: Flickr - ZA Photos

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72 comments

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6:31AM PDT on May 6, 2013

Cool!!! Nice to hear! :-)

12:39PM PST on Jan 24, 2012

good news am happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12:10PM PST on Jan 23, 2012

That is good news for one of the many species in the gulf but what about the many other endangered species that were harmed by the BP oil spill and the encroachment of man on the delicate marine habitat such as the manatee or the horseshoe crab or the.... the list goes on. While it is good news for the turtle, we must not forget the others.

9:50AM PDT on Apr 18, 2011

yay!! some good news about the turtles!

11:15PM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

Great story, but is BP still paying? This was their fault and they should keep paying until the wildlife has returned to normal.

10:58AM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

Great! But B.P. should not be let off the responsibility of what it did. The worst thing of all is that China is selling cheap key rings with live turtles inside.

8:11AM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

Thanks for sharing great news for the sea turtles! =)

7:06AM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

Great

6:34AM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

yay!!

10:20PM PDT on Apr 16, 2011

Haha, are you serious? x)

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