Saving Sea Turtles
OK friends, I have a question for you. Who else gets happy when they hear about loggerhead turtles? I just read some very exciting news on South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts (SCUTE) Facebook page. Today, nine nests (yes, nine!) were discovered along Grand Strand beaches, from North Myrtle Beach in Horry County all the way down to Hobcaw Barony in Georgetown County.
We’re lucky to get to live in an area where sea life is just as abundant as other wildlife, and we need to protect that sea life from manmade dangers. That’s one reason Santee Cooper has supported organizations like SCUTE since 1990. Not only do we help shield beachfront lights at night, we have an education campaign showing beachgoers the easy ways they can help protect sea turtles and their nests.
For sea turtles like the loggerhead, there are some simple things we can do to make sure our shelled friends are protected and can thrive. I encourage you to do your part, too, by following some simple guidelines:
- When you leave the beach for the day, fill in any holes and level any sandcastles you built. This helps turtles safely crawl through the sand past the high tide mark, where they build their nests and lay their eggs.
- Take your toys, towels and chairs with you when you leave the beach so there are no obstructions for turtles to navigate around.
- Turn off beachfront lights after 10 p.m. during nesting season. Turtles navigate by the moon and mothers dig nests in the moonlight. Beachfront lights (and flash photography or the flashlight on your phone) can spook, confuse and disorient turtles, especially the babies when they emerge from the nest.
- If you see an unmarked nest (or a “crawl,” the marks made by sea turtles when they crawl through the sand), give SCUTE a call at 843-237-9821. You’re more likely to see a crawl early in the morning. (I’ve seen a few. Even though you need to get up early, it’s worth it!)
- Don’t disturb a nest.
- Don’t help the babies to the ocean. Baby sea turtles need to strengthen their flippers before their first swim. They do that by pushing themselves out of the nest and crawling through the sand.
Help spread the word! You can get your free Sea Turtles Dig the Dark bumper sticker here.