When the late Archie Carr, a pioneering University of Florida ecologist, first began documenting the decline of sea turtles in the 1960s, the future looked grim — particularly for the green turtle.
The green turtle had long been a Florida seafood menu staple, usually served up in the famous soup. But with the population largely eaten out of existence in state waters, most meat had to be imported.
To make matters worse, eggs were routinely poached from beach nests. And hatchlings, attracted to the lights of growing coastal communities, crawled inland rather than out to sea, dying in the hot sun or under car tires.
At the low point, Carr estimated there were no more than 30 to 40 green turtle nests along the entire Florida coast, its primary nursery ground.
Now, greens are in the midst of an unprecedented nesting boom from South Florida to South Carolina.