Grand Strand park rangers prepare for upcoming sea turtle nesting season
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - As the start of sea turtle nesting season approaches, patrol groups at Myrtle Beach State Park are preparing for the possibility of relocating eggs to a safer and more controlled environment.
“You would think that more turtles would nest here than in the City of Myrtle Beach,” said Ann Wilson, a ranger at Myrtle Beach State Park. “But because we had such a small stretch, we only had three nests last year and about 15-17 in the City of Myrtle Beach that we do relocate or move back here, because we have a better habitat, better sand dunes.”
Once the rangers relocate the eggs, they put up a sign and plastic screen to keep predators like raccoons and coyotes from digging into the nest.
“Patrollers who are patrolling the beach every morning monitoring them,” said Wilson. “It’s the best we can do, really. We’re just reacting to what the sea turtles do and put them in a good positive environment.”
Loggerhead sea turtles are the South Carolina State Reptile and are an endangered species. Their nesting season in the state runs from May 1 through Oct. 31.
“They live very long lives,” said Wilson. “Well, over 75 years so they really have to replace themself and their mate and that’s why sea turtles lay so many eggs at one time, but it’s a small percentage.”
With only 1 out of 1,000 eggs surviving, Wilson said locals and tourists can help in multiple ways to give sea turtles the biggest chance of survival.
The biggest things that help are picking up trash, filling in holes on the beach, smoothing down sandcastles at the end of the day, keeping dogs on a leash and not shining any bright lights on the beach at night.
Myrtle Beach State Park also offers multiple educational programs for people to learn more about sea turtles.
Every Tuesday during the month of May, those interested can learn the differences among the sea turtles that are found in South Carolina waters. Using skulls, photos, replicas, and life-size graphics, they will discuss the differences in how they live and what people can do to help sea turtles.
It’s free with admission into the park.
Click here for more information.
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