Turtle nesting season begins along SC beaches
FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) – From this weekend until October is a critical season for the endangered loggerhead turtles that inhabit the South Carolina coastline.
Over the next six months, the turtles will return to the beach to create nests.
Volunteers from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources have already started their rounds looking for potential nests to report.
“Passion is protection,” said Folly Beach Senior Coordinator Teresa Marshall. “They are adorable and wonderful creatures and we just want to do our best to take care of them.”
As travel resumes and more people return to Lowcountry beaches, Marshall says it’s more important than ever for volunteers to stay at the forefront of conservation efforts.
“This is one of the reasons we want our volunteers to come here early in the morning so that we can tackle the trails, the nest relocations as soon as possible,” Marshall said.
Marshall said another challenge along Folly Beach is the ongoing construction of the pier, but crews are working with turtle nesting teams to reduce bright lights and distractions.
“We have protocols in place for them to check in with us on a daily basis,” Marshall said. “In fact, they’re going to be watching the songs as well.”
Melissa Ranly, director of the Sea Turtle Care Center at the South Carolina Aquarium, said the number of nests fluctuates every two years, which makes this year not only busier for beach goers but also for beachgoers. loggerheads.
“Two years ago was a banner year, so it’s entirely possible that this year will be a good year,” said Ranly.
A record 8,802 nests were found on the coast of South Carolina in 2019.
“I’m sure there will be more people on the beaches,” Ranly said. “Right now we really want to give people the right ways to make sure it’s a safe environment for animals to ride and nest.”
Some things people can do to help turtles this summer are first, pick up litter and fill in any holes left on the beach.
“It’s something people from out of town might not think of,” Ranly said. “But a nursing turtle that crawls in the middle of the night might not see a hole and fall in there and get trapped.
Also, turn off all bright lights, as they can become dangerous distractions.
“For a female crawling on the beach, she can be distracted by this and go back into the water without laying her eggs,” Ranly said.
People can find more information about SCDNR’s sea turtle conservation program as well as other ways to protect loggerheads. online here.
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Copyright 2021 WRDW / WAGT. All rights reserved.