Biscayne National Park

Published: Sep 16, 2013 10:45 AM EDT

MIAMI (AP) - Florida environmental officials are celebrating an unprecedented boom in green turtle nests.
    
The Miami Herald reported Monday (http://hrld.us/1aNb3EM ) that wildlife officials say that green turtle nests have doubled statewide. They have totaled 11,500 nests in one 20-mile stretch near Melbourne Beach. Back in the 1960s, green turtles had been hunted almost to extinction. At one point, only about 40 nests were counted statewide.
    
Green turtles average 350 pound when full-grown. Their rebound began in 1978 when they were added to the federal list of endangered species. It became illegal to hunt them, sell their meat or harvest their eggs.
    
Florida coastal cities have also instituted seasonal lighting ordinances. Turtle hatchlings can get confused by city lights and crawl inland after birth instead of heading out to sea.
    
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Information from: The Miami Herald, http://www.herald.com

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