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Sea Turtle Conservation Efforts Rewarded by Record Number of Nests on Hilton Head Island Beaches


Loggerhead returning to sea (Photo courtesy of Cory Tressler)

 

Hilton Head Island Celebrates Record-Breaking Year for Sea Turtle Nests

Last week, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources reported that as of Tuesday, July 5th, 240 nests have been found on Hilton Head Island, already beating last year's record of 239 nests, with more than a month remaining in the region's sea-turtle nesting season. Statewide and throughout Beaufort County, volunteers have supported programs such as Hilton Head's Sea Turtle Protection Program by Coastal Discovery Museum, and logged thousands of hours and tens of thousands of miles of hard work making possible the local wildlife conservation organizations' critical efforts to protect sea turtles habitats and to raise awareness among locals and visitors of the threats facing sea turtles, such as commercial fishing, pollution, and beachfront development.

 

Hilton Head Island Sea Turtle Protection Project

Loggerhead hatchling (Photo by Cory Tressler)

 

Sea Turtle Conservation in South Carolina

Loggerheads are the most commonly found sea turtles that nest in the southeastern United States, and, in 1988, were deemed the official state reptile of South Carolina. They can be found in South Carolina’s near shore waters between April and November or nesting on the beaches between May and October. These enormous reptiles—adult Loggerheads can weigh 300 pounds and reach four feet in length—take 25 to 30 years to mature and reproduce. Consequently, sea turtle conservation is critical in areas where commercial fishing, pollution, and beachfront development pose a threat to their natural habitat.

 

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