HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Sea turtle nesting season continues along the Grand Strand, with dozens of nests showing up across area beaches.
Jeff McClary, the head of the South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts, or S.C.U.T.E., said 57 sea turtle nests have been discovered so far this season. They’re found as far north as North Myrtle Beach and as far south as the Murrells Inlet/Pawleys Island area.
For the entire 2018 nesting season, only 65 nests were found across the Grand Strand, according to McClary. He said DNA testing has shown that sea turtles nest in roughly two-year intervals. He pointed out that 222 nests were discovered in 2016, while 226 were found the following year.
“What we’re seeing is a rebound of it going back up,” McClary said, noting that nine nests were found across the Grand Strand on Memorial Day.
According to the Myrtle Beach Police Department, a female loggerhead sea turtle nested on the beach near 29th Avenue South Sunday night. The turtle laid 136 eggs, a post on the MBPD’s Facebook page stated.
Myrtle Beach officers, along with agents with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, assisted Myrtle Beach State Park rangers with the protection and relocation of the eggs.
On the south end, two new loggerhead sea turtle nests were found Sunday night in Pawleys Island, according to a tweet from the Pawleys Island Police Department. That brings the total number of nests for the season to five so far.
Authorities are reminding residents and visitors not to interfere with the turtles. If one is seen in the ocean or on the beach, people should stay away from it and not disturb it.