MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — The American crocodile is making a comeback in Everglades National Park.

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

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

In the early 1970’s the reptile received federal endangered status.  After making a bit of rebound, the croc population was reclassified in 2007 as ‘threatened’.

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.

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