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The loggerhead turtle is an endangered species, but has made a strong recovery in recent years. In 2004, 358 females laid eggs on the beaches of Georgia in the United States. This year, that figure is up to 3,694.
That's the highest number since 1989, when researchers at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources began counting how many nests with eggs there were on the beaches. It is also a substantial increase from last year when the number of nests reached 2,493.
The population of loggerhead turtles around Georgia's coasts has increased by an average of four percent per year since the early 1990's. However, the researchers now expect that the increase will decrease somewhat.
The turtles do not become sexually mature until they are 30–35 years old, and during the early 2000's the population did not increase at all. It did not start to increase again until the early 2010's and it is only when these turtles reach sexual maturity that we may see a significant increase again.
But if today's protection for the turtles continues in the future, the researchers expect that the number of loggerhead turtles will increase so much after that that the population may be as large as in the 1950's.