US

Once endangered in Florida Everglades, crocodiles back with record number, research shows

  • In this undated photo provided by the University of Florida, an adult American crocodile swims at Everglades National Park, Fla. A UF study has found a record number of American crocodile hatchlings in Everglades National park this year, providing hope that restoration efforts are helping the once endangered species. (AP Photo/University of Florida, Jemeema Carrigan)

    In this undated photo provided by the University of Florida, an adult American crocodile swims at Everglades National Park, Fla. A UF study has found a record number of American crocodile hatchlings in Everglades National park this year, providing hope that restoration efforts are helping the once endangered species. (AP Photo/University of Florida, Jemeema Carrigan)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this July 2, 2014 photo provided by the University of Florida, American crocodile hatchlings leave their nest at Everglades National Park, Fla. A University of Florida study has found a record number of American crocodile hatchlings in Everglades National park this year, providing hope that restoration efforts are helping the once endangered species. (AP Photo/University of Florida, Michiko Squires)

    In this July 2, 2014 photo provided by the University of Florida, American crocodile hatchlings leave their nest at Everglades National Park, Fla. A University of Florida study has found a record number of American crocodile hatchlings in Everglades National park this year, providing hope that restoration efforts are helping the once endangered species. (AP Photo/University of Florida, Michiko Squires)  (The Associated Press)

Researchers say a record number of American crocodile hatchlings were counted in Everglades National Park this year, providing hope that restoration efforts are helping the once-endangered species.

University of Florida researcher Frank Mazzotti has been monitoring the crocodiles since 1978, a few years after the reptile received federal endangered status.

Researchers caught 962 of the hatchlings this year in the park, nearly doubling the 554 found in 2013.

The animal's apparent rebound led to the government's reclassification of the species as threatened in 2007.

The crocodiles' decline is blamed on a network of canals dug into the Everglades to drain marsh water for agriculture, which increased salinity.

Restoration efforts have plugged some of the holes in the park, allowing for better water quality.