- Associated Press - Sunday, December 25, 2016

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Officials are reporting a record year for sea turtle nesting on South Florida beaches.

The Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program announced this week that it tallied 3,567 sea turtle nests during the nesting season that ended Oct. 31. In a statement, county officials said that’s the highest total since the program started counting nests in 1981.

The previous record was 3,540 nests counted in 2012.

Loggerheads laid 3,400 nests in Broward County this year. Dozens of leatherback and green turtle nests also were tallied.

All five species of sea turtles found in Florida’s waters are protected by state and federal law.

The conservation program is funded by the county and operated by Nova Southeastern University. Officials urge residents to help protect sea turtles by reducing artificial lighting that can disorient hatchlings.

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