Green Turtle success story
More than 70 years after major turtle nesting beaches became protected on the remote UK overseas territory of Ascension Island researchers are now reporting a boom in population numbers.
Scientists from the University of Exeter and Ascension Island Government Conservation Department report that the number of green turtles nesting at the remote South Atlantic outpost has increased by more than 500 per cent since records began in the 1970s.
As many as 24,000 nests are now estimated to be laid on the Island's main beaches every year, making it the second largest nesting colony for this species in the Atlantic Ocean.
Lead author, Dr Sam Weber, said: "The increase has been dramatic. Whereas in the 1970s and 80's you would have been lucky to find 30 turtles on the Island's main nesting beach on any night, in 2013 we had more than 400 females nesting in a single evening".
The scientists' report comes as Ascension Island Government announces that it is committing a fifth of the territory's land area to biodiversity conservation. New legislation enacted by the Island's Governor, Mark Capes, on the 28th of July creates seven new nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries that include the Island's three main turtle nesting beaches, along with globally-important seabird colonies that are home to more than 800,000 nesting seabirds.
Green Turtles image via Shutterstock.
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