Pretty cute aren't they, but as adorable as these loggerhead sea turtles are they're considered to be a threatened species. It's no wonder wildlife activists and researchers pay very close attention to the number of nests they receive on the shores each year.
This year the numbers are down across most of the Panhandle, but that's not the case here in Panama City Beach and nobody knows exactly why. As for the general decline across other area beaches, there are several theories.
"We have loss of nesting habitat. Developing the beaches leaves little room for turtles to nest. Commercial fishing, sea turtles sometimes get caught in shrimp trawls, on fishing lines, other things in the water too. They of course get eaten by other fish. Disease is another concern and another thing we have seen is an increase in dead turtles caused by boat collisions."
But until the experts have more data to look at, the drop-off will remain a mystery.