Jana "Banana" Thornton Monday, May 14, 2012
Do you love baby sea turtles? This is their nesting & hatching season, May - October...and you can help them!
A baby sea turtle’s life is precarious. From each nest, only an estimated 80% of the eggs resulted in hatchlings make it safely to the ocean. Only one in 1,000 hatchlings may grow to adulthood, which takes up to 25 years. These low odds make the S.C.U.T.E. / Santee Cooper preservation effort essential to loggerhead sea turtle survival in South Carolina.
The S.C.U.T.E. , or South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts, is a group of volunteers dedicated to sea turtle conservation in Georgetown and Horry Counties. The group organized in 1990 and are based out of Pawley’s Island, and are permitted by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to protect, and if necessary, relocated turtle nests.
What can you do?
1. Help to limit beachfront lighting in Horry County by turning outside lighting off at beachfront homes by 10 p.m. during nesting season, May – October. Baby hatchlings will follow the brightest light and may not reach the ocean. Bright lights also confuse nesting female turtles.
2. Don’t disturb a nesting female. If you see one on shore attempting to nest, sudden movements may make her skittish; crouch down and allow her to find a spot to lay her eggs.
3. Don’t use flashlights or flash photography at night if you see a nesting female, or hatchlings.
4. Don’t disturb a nest. If you happen to find a nest of eggs, contact S.C.U.T.E. (contact information below) Chances are they already are aware, but it doesn’t hurt to report!
5. If you do see some hatchlings….don’t disturb them if they are headed towards the sea. Again, please contact S.C.U.T.E. If they are headed the wrong direction, you can gently turn them towards the ocean. If they are headed towards artificial light, they’ll either be eaten by a predator, be stepped, hit by a car, or die of dehydration. Please do NOT put them into the ocean directly.
6. Please bring in all your beach chairs, toys, etc from the beach at night. Plus, fill in large holes that have been dug during the day. Turtles and hatchlings can get trapped in them .
Throughout the nesting and hatching season, SCUTE volunteers distribute information to beach users who express an interest in turtle conservation. For more information on the loggerhead sea turtle, contact SCUTE at (843) 237-9821 or (843) 235-8755 or Myrtle Beach State Park at (843) 238-0874.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: S.C.U.T.E.
Myrtle Beach State Park "The Urban Sea Turtle" event- To teach children about sea turtles (no live turtles at the event) three more days! Tuesdays May 15, 22, 29
Photo courtesy of the S.C.U.T.E.