Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sea Turtle Situation Puzzling Nesting in State Slow, Experts Say

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sea Turtle Situation Puzzling Nesting in State Slow, Experts Say

Article excerpt

BRUNSWICK -- Loggerhead sea turtle nesting activity on Georgia

beaches has been slow this summer, while strandings have

slightly increased from the same period last year, wildlife

authorities say.

State and federal biologists are monitoring the situation,

which they describe as puzzling.

They say they hope data gleaned from miniature satellite

transmitters glued onto the backs of three loggerhead mothers

will provide insight into the lives and deaths of the Georgia


Loggerheads, which are protected by state and federal law, are

the only species of sea turtle to routinely nest in Georgia.

Biologists said June and July are the peak months of sea-turtle

nesting along the Georgia and Florida coasts. August and

mid-September are the main hatching times for sea turtles. Each

nest generally contains 100 to 150 eggs, the scientists said.

Brad Winn, a biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural

Resources, said loggerhead nesting activity got off to a slow

start and remains sluggish this season.

"We've found about 500 nests along the whole [Georgia] coast,

which is a little more than half what we normally have," said

Winn, who specializes in studying sea turtles. "We'll probably

finish up with about 600 to 700 nests this year."

Winn said all the nests have been loggerheads. Unlike last year

when three nests from the same leatherback turtle were

discovered, no leatherback nests have been found this year, he


Scientists think there are fewer Georgia nests this year

because sea turtles do not nest every year. They nest every two

or three years. While 1994 was a record year for nests, this

season, which ends next month, could be the normal downturn in

the nesting cycle, Winn said.

"We hope next year there will be a corresponding higher number

of nests," Winn said. …

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