The news is good regarding loggerhead turtle hatchlings. With luck, it will mean an increase in their numbers worldwide.
Workers with the Sea Turtle Protection Project on Hilton Head Island have discovered 199 nests. That is the second-largest nesting season since 1985, the year the project began.
Loggerheads also are setting records statewide and along the Georgia coast. More than 3,000 nests have been found in South Carolina, and 1,500 more in Georgia. And the turtles are laying large numbers of eggs in Florida and North Carolina, too.
But the hatching of thousands of turtles doesn't guarantee high survival, even with a helping hand from concerned humans. Their overall numbers remain small, and many of the baby turtles will succumb to the innumerable threats they face in the open sea.
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The federal government is mulling the reclassification of loggerheads from threatened, the category they have occupied for three decades, to endangered. Changing the status will depend on the results of a global review of the turtle's numbers, which already is under way. The change would result in an increased effort to preserve the loggerhead.
Scientists are encouraged about the rise in nesting numbers this year but reluctant to be too optimistic. We can only hope the loggerheads will increase to healthy numbers once more.
The world would be a little poorer without these giant, long-lived reptiles paddling the world's oceans.
Surveys of Southern beaches find rising numbers of loggerhead turtle nests.