Miami, US, Mar 8 (EFE).- A record number of American crocodiles were born at Turkey Point nuclear and gas plant in southern Florida in 2021, according to the plant’s operator.
From the 27 viable nests discovered last year by biologists from the conservation program for the Crocodylus acutus species promoted by the energy company Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL), which operates the plant, a record 565 hatchlings emerged, according to a statement from the company.
Turkey Point, just 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Miami, is a perfect haven for the vulnerable Crocodylus acutus. The center’s extreme security with few people around, and the large amount of space – some 11,000 acres or 4,455 hectares – have helped make the program a success.
The crocodiles live in the cooling canals of the plant, which measure a total of 168 miles (270 kilometers) and are separated by artificial embankments covered with vegetation.
The females lay their eggs in April or May and hatching occurs in about 90 days.
Kate MacGregor, FLP’s vice president of environmental services, said in a statement that “the tireless work demonstrated at Turkey Point has resulted in a significant increase of the once-endangered American crocodile population.”
According to FPL, in 2021 efforts were made to encourage female alligators to return to their nesting sites by preparing places where they laid eggs in previous years and by continuously improving the water quality of the canal system.
These factors greatly contributed to nesting and hatching success, producing 27 successful nests, second only to 28 nests in 2008.
This strategy will be implemented again for the 2022 nesting season, FPL noted.
The American alligator was transitioned from endangered to threatened status in 2007. EFE