Sea turtle season is breaking records on St. Catherine’s Island, researchers say

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Researchers at Georgia Southern University said that sea turtle season on St. Catherine’s island is breaking records this year.

Jaynie Gaskin, MHP, executive director of the Georgia Southern University Sea Turtle Program at St. Catherine’s Island said that researchers counted over 100 nests after just one month of nesting season, which runs from May to October. Gaskin said the nests on St. Catherine’s Island were some of the first in the state to hatch.

“This year, we have officially broken our all-time record number of nests, which was 322 and set in 2016,” Gaskin said. “As of July 12, we recorded 327 nests. We knew the 2019 season was going to blow the 2016 season out of the water when we recorded 99 nests on June 1. That was up from 46 nests recorded on the same day in 2016.”

Gaskin said the increase in nests on St. Catherine’s Island is thanks to conservation efforts in the late 1980s. She said that the “new” turtles are likely turtles from that early conservation program that have just now reached nesting age.

Researchers are expecting over 160 female turtles to return to nest in 2019.

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