It’s now sea turtle nesting season on the Georgia coast, and researchers have counted their first nest.
A biologist with the National Park Service found a loggerhead sea turtle nest on Cumberland Island over the weekend.
The Southeast is a nesting hot spot for the threatened animals. The adult turtles, which can live for decades, spend most of their lives at sea, but females lay their eggs on beaches during the summer.
Sea turtles in the Southeast were in decline for many years, but over the past couple decades, their nesting numbers have grown, thanks to the use of fishing nets that allow the turtles to escape and likely also because Georgia’s shrimping industry has shrunk.
Last year, monitors up and down the Georgia coast found more nests than they ever had before in more than 30 years of counting, breaking a previous record set in 2016.