Georgia’s first sea turtles of the season have hatched. Volunteers on St. Simons Island documented the hatchlings Thursday.
The Southeast is a hot spot for nesting loggerhead sea turtles. Last year, the threatened reptiles laid nearly 4,000 nests on Georgia beaches, more than they had in decades.
This year, there have been high nest numbers, too – 2,257 as of Friday — though likely not on track to break last year’s record.
Sea turtles had been declining for decades, but regulations and efforts to protect nests from predators and protect adult turtles from shrimp nets beginning in the 1990s have helped loggerheads come back in higher numbers.