Posted by Louis Wery on Sunday, September 22nd, 2013 at 7:14pm.
Today Green turtles are flourishing on Manasota Key, thanks to the tireless efforts of about 150 volunteers up before sunrise to check for turtle nesting activity. The barrier island that straddles Sarasota and Charlotte counties claims the highest concentration of turtle nests on the Gulf Coast — 69 green turtle nests and 2,644 loggerhead nests.
As recently as a couple of years ago, the numbers looked very different. Then just 19 of the endangered green turtles nested on the beaches from Manasota Key to Anna Maria Island. This year that number jumped to 104, an increase sea turtle experts call remarkable. There's a larger population explosion among turtles in Florida.
Green sea turtles, which are uncommon on local nesting beaches, laid 30 nests this year in Mote Marine Laboratory’s Patrol area — twice the record of 14 nests in 2007 and 2010.
Mote has tracked sea turtle nesting for 31 years along the Sarasota area coastline.
“We’re very happy that green sea turtles broke their 31-year record this summer, that loggerheads had another outstanding season and that our local numbers seem to be part of a broader upswing in the southeastern U.S.” said Kristen Mazzarella, manager of Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program. “While these increases might have many causes, it’s exciting to consider how our local conservation and education efforts may be helping with this positive change.”
"Green Sea Turtle Hatching" ©2000 Us Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region (USFWS/Southeast), used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en