JUNO BEACH, Fla. — Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach is seeing a massive number of leatherback sea turtle nests.
Researchers to date have counted 69 nests, which is significantly more than normal on their nearly 10-mile stretch of beach they patrol.
"These turtles are really fat, they are massive. I’ve not seen them like this in a really long time," said Dr Justin Perrault, the Director of Research at Loggerhead Marinelife Center.
Perrault added that is a good thing and not meant to disrespect the turtles. In fact, earlier this month, his team counted nine in one night. They are cautiously optimistic about the rest of the season.
"Their massive shoulders, their hips, and thigh areas are just folding over. We're seeing huge massive necks on these things and really interesting bloodwork indicative of a really healthy population this year," said Perrault.
Perrault said a number of factors could be causing the sharp rise. Abnormal weather, an increase in their food consumption, or perhaps a shifting to earlier in the season for nesting may be helping.
Perrault's team will continue counting every day and night through the rest of turtle nesting season, which ends on Oct. 31.
To learn more about Loggerhead Marinelife Center, click here.