Authorities have intercepted 156 sea turtle eggs stolen from a nest on Sapelo Island. Georgia wildlife officials said they began investigating the theft after learning the eggs had been stolen from the nest.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently re-classified loggerhead sea turtles. Some are now considered “endangered” and others remain at the lesser “threatened” category. Georgia’s turtles remain classified as threatened, and the state’s sea turtle program coordinator said the turtle population remains at risk but seems to be improving.
High surf from Hurricane Irene this weekend washed away more than sand. The endangered loggerhead sea turtles were near the end of their nesting season when the storm lashed the beaches. Turtle-watchers spotted numerous examples of nests that just disappeared after Irene.
A legal settlement over endangered sea turtles in the Pacific could be a sign of things to come in the Atlantic. Conservation groups recently agreed with the National Marine Fisheries Management Service over new rules to protect the Pacific leatherback sea turtle. In the Atlantic, the same groups are petitioning the same officials for rules to protect the threatened Atlantic loggerhead.
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island is keeping cold-stunned turtles warm for the winter. Several sea turtles are having a hard time in the frigid coastal waters. They are being taken to the Center to recover.
Endangered turtles on the Georgia coast had a successful nesting season from May to October. With over 1700 nests reported, the loggerhead turtles may be making a comeback. Last year there were less than 1600 nests reported.