Loggerhead nestings have reached record high levels in South Africa, a positive sign for the endangered marine turtle. There were over 2,000 loggerhead nestings found along a 56 km stretch of the northern KwaZulu Natal coastline — the highest number recorded in 43 years — according to monitoring conducted by the World Wildlife Fund over the 2005–06 season.
Populations of the more critically endangered leatherback turtle are also thriving here, with an average of 70–80 nestings per season.
One of the main contributing factors to the stability of South Africa’s marine turtle populations is that they breed almost entirely within the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, which is a designated marine protected area and World Heritage site.
“The next challenge for the project is to extend marine turtle conservation up the Mozambique coastline,” said Simanga Mageba, who is coordinating the project’s 16 monitoring sites in KwaZulu Natal.