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Researchers discover rare phenomenon with sea turtle nests along Louisiana's coast: 'This story is only just beginning'

Sea turtles are more important than ever.

Sea turtles are more important than ever.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

In 2022, on islands along Louisiana's coast, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service discovered turtle tracks in the sand. Around 30% of those tracks belonged to loggerhead sea turtles, an endangered species that nests primarily on the eastern coast of Florida, which is hundreds of miles away, according to a report from the Wildlife Society.

The surprises didn't stop there. The researchers found something even more extraordinary: two nests belonging to Kemp's ridley sea turtles, another endangered species with only two other known nesting locations.

The Wildlife Society article documented this good news with new data on the sea turtles' nests and rising numbers. 

While there has been other good news where loggerhead turtles are concerned, turtles don't have it easy. While females can lay hundreds of eggs in a season, the organization SEE Turtles estimates that "only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood." 

Those that do survive to adulthood face additional challenges, such as the loss of available habitats, vessel accidents, poaching, and debris ingestion or entanglement, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Sea turtles are more important than ever. They have a huge impact on marine ecosystems — they keep their prey populations in check and prevent seagrasses and algae from overgrowing. 

More turtles is a good thing, and here's hoping that the newest hatch of Kemp's ridley turtles make it. It's not just up to fate — there are ways to support these turtles and improve their chances.

Many organizations, like SEE Turtles, the Olive Ridley Project, and Sea Turtle Conservancy are dedicated entirely to the preservation of sea turtles. These organizations use researchers, educators, and volunteers to do beach cleanups, rehabilitation and nursery programs, fundraising, and other conservation efforts. If you're looking for ways to donate or get involved, check out this list of turtle charities and organizations. You can adopt a nest, sponsor a turtle, or volunteer for local cleanups.

In the Wildlife Society's article, it was stated that Margaret Lamont, lead author of a study done on the turtles' activity, said, "This story is only just beginning."

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