SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Add North Carolina to the Southeastern states where rare sea turtles are nesting in record numbers.
The nest count tallied by North Carolina researchers showed Saturday more than 1,640 loggerhead sea turtle nests have been found on the state's beaches. That breaks the state's 2016 record of 1,622 nests.
Likewise nesting records have been shattered in Georgia and South Carolina, where the giant turtles crawl ashore every to lay their eggs in the sand.
Rare sea turtles are smashing nesting records this summer on beaches in the Southeast.
Giant loggerhead sea turtles crawl ashore to lay their eggs in the sand every summer along the southern Atlantic coast. The nesting season typically runs from May through August. But record nest counts set in 2016 have already fallen in Georgia and South Carolina. And North Carolina is closing in on its record count.
Scientists and volunteers have catalogued more than 12,200 nests so far in the three states. Their record counts three years ago totaled 11,321 nests.
Biologist Mark Dodd of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources credits conservation measures that began more than 30 years ago to protect nests on the beach and to prevent adult turtles from being killed in shrimp nets.