Green turtles are nesting at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in record numbers this season.
12,026 nests have been counted – the highest number to date - and the nesting season has two more months to go.
“This is really a comeback story. […] Back in the 1980s, the beaches UCF [University of Central Florida] monitored hosted less than 50 green turtle nests a year,” said Kate Mansfield, an assistant professor of biology at UCF.
Mansfield leads the Marine Turtle Research Group at UCF, which has been monitoring all the turtle nests on the 13-mile stretch of beach for more than 30 years, in addition to another stretch along the Central Florida coast.
“I strongly hope this milestone is only a hint of what the future holds for Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge and that UCF’s work leads to the steady recovery for the sea turtle species that begin their lives here,” said Anibal Vazquez, the refuge’s assistant manager.
Besides the green turtle, leatherbacks and loggerhead turtles also use Florida’s beaches as their nesting grounds. In fact, the wildlife refuge hosts one of the largest nesting beaches for loggerhead turtles in the Western Hemisphere.