Sea turtles are a rare find - but are they endangered? That's the question scientists are mulling over as they contemplate moving them onto the list of endangered species. Scientists across the country and here in Wilmington are worried that Loggerheads are in need of more protection.
A strong decline in nesting activity and population is causing some to support a move from threatened to endangered status.
Endangered species are animals that scientists are afraid may become extinct in the wild. Natural predators account for some of the decline in loggerheads, but scientists say people are the bigger threat. More development in coastal areas means tougher times for turtles seeking a nesting place.
“I like to be optimistic about populations based upon the concern and care that we see volunteers and general people just bringing out,” said Joanne Harcke of the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. “So I think we can be optimistic but we also need to be really careful and these animals deserve a lot of protection.”
Locally, the Loggerheads have a lot of help. Volunteers at area beaches and the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital save these creatures throughout the year.
A decision on elevating the Loggerheads to endangered status won't come until this summer. If it does - it would likely involve further restrictions for people on the beach.