Florida environmental officials are celebrating an unprecedented boom in green turtle nests.
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.