Summer of surprises: Unexpected boon of loggerhead turtles nesting in Andalucia’s beaches driven by climate change

THE unexpected surge in loggerhead turtles nesting along the beaches of Andalucia which has so delighted turtle enthusiasts is driven by climate change, conservationists believe.

This summer, an astonishing 27 nests were recorded, marking the highest number since the first loggerhead turtle nest was documented on the Spanish coast back in 2001.

This unusual nesting behaviour is a crucial development for turtle conservation and renewed efforts are underway to safeguard the creatures at every stage of their life cycle.

Throughout the summer, scientists monitoring Spain’s coasts have been met with an extraordinary number of loggerhead turtle nests. 

The loggerhead turtle has been classified as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List with a declining global population trend. 

Warmer waters and beaches in the western Mediterranean have attracted female loggerheads to the shores of Spain, from the southern region of Andalusia to the northern Catalonia, to lay their eggs.

Scientists suspect this is because of historically warmer sand temperatures that are perfect for incubating the eggs.

Sand temperature records from 1950 to 2019 reveal that thermal conditions suitable for the regular nesting of loggerhead turtles have only consistently existed in Spanish beaches only since 2010.

However, many of these beaches are heavily busy with tourism and human activity, which poses an alternative threat to the hatching of the eggs.


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