Loggerhead sea turtle. (File Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) -- Georgia wildlife officials are saying for the first time that loggerhead sea turtles are recovering along the state's coast after more than 24 years of ups and downs for the threatened species.
Department of Natural Resources biologist Mark Dodd said Thursday the giant turtles laid a record number of nests on Georgia beaches for the third straight year this summer. He says the numbers make experts confident the population of turtles hatching in Georgia is rebounding after years of fluctuations that indicated recovery was flat.
Researchers and volunteers counted 2,218 loggerhead nests during the season from May 1 to Aug. 31. That shattered the previous record of 1,992 nests counted last year.
Between 1989 and 2009, Georgia averaged just over 1,000 loggerhead sea turtle nests per year.