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One of the world’s largest turtles just laid eggs on NC coast

One of the Earth's largest sea turtles laid eggs in this nest at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area in North Carolina between May 20, 2018 to May 23, 2018. One of the Earth's largest sea turtles laid eggs in this nest at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. (North Carolina State Parks and Recreation)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. — One of the world’s largest turtles has laid eggs along the North Carolina coast.

North Carolina State Parks and Recreation said on Facebook Wednesday morning that a female leatherback sea turtle made a nest at Fort Fisher Recreation Area.

The leatherback, which can grow up to seven feet and weigh 2,000 pounds, laid eggs on or near a North Carolina beach for the first time in six years.

“The species is listed as ‘Vulnerable,’ which is the listed status just above ‘Endangered,'” the department wrote. “Only about one in a thousand leatherback hatchlings survive to adulthood. This is why it’s crucial that we help give every one of these hatchlings the best possible chance at life!”

About 10 percent of the hatchlings are eaten by predators on the beach. Of those that make it to the ocean, only about 25 percent of them will survive the first few days in the water and just six percent will last the first year.