GA - Sea turtle nests at second-highest level in nine years at end of May

Sea turtles are nesting in near-record numbers along Georgia’s coast this season, continuing a trend that started about a decade ago as the sizable creatures stage a comeback.

“The start to the nesting season is above average and the second-highest we’ve had in the last nine years, so that’s really positive,” Mark Dodd, a wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said Friday.

Dodd updated DNR’s sea turtle nesting Facebook page Friday morning. The update resolved concerns that the number of nests has dropped this year compared to 2019. The comparison was based on reports posted on the tracking website

The number of nests has not dipped, Dodd said. Instead, the discrepancy in reporting is the result of a fact of life on Georgia’s remote barrier islands – phone and Internet service isn’t as reliable as it is in the city.

Dodd’s comment observes:

  • “Working on remote islands can sometimes lead to issues reporting data. It’s hard to believe, but there are still places on the planet where we don’t have reliable cellphone or Internet access.
  • “The Internet system is currently down on Cumberland [Island], so their nest numbers have not been updated on for 4-5 days (144 nests as of yesterday).”

Dodd remembers the lean years for sea turtle nests. This is his 22nd year in Georgia, and before that he worked in South Carolina with its sea turtle program for about eight years. The situation is improving, he said.

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