Florida has been successful in its conservation efforts to save the endangered green turtle species with the numbers rising from 19 to 104 in two years.
Green Turtles have been listed as endangered in Florida. The species' highest population is found on the state's East Coast. In 2011, only 19 green turtles were counted on the beaches from the Manasota Key to Anna Maria Island by government representatives.
Now, two years later, the government has revealed that the number of green turtles has gone up to 104. This rise in number marks the greatest conservation success story of the state. According to experts, this increase in the number of nests of the endangered creatures is expected to be twice when compared with the previous year.
The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge South of Melbourne is the most important nesting ground for the turtles in North America. Currently, it has over 13,000 nests for green turtles. This number was only 50 around 30 years ago.
"The overall trend has been up with green turtle nesting and this adds an amazing crescendo," Blair Witherington, sea turtle expert with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, said.
Green turtles reached the brink of extinction after being extensively hunted for their meat, used in soups, turtle burgers and a variety of other dishes. The Endangered Species Act in 1973 put an end to this and green turtle hunting became illegal. Many countries also implemented laws and ordinances to protect nesting areas.
However, human activities continue to harm these creatures. While green turtles are still being hunted for food, sometimes these creatures fall prey to fishing nets and then are sold illegally. Loss of habitat is another reason for these creatures becoming extinct.