Turtle nests show sharp decline

  • Thursday, September 4, 2014

Mary Schneider

After a record-setting year for turtle nests on Pawleys Island in 2013, the numbers are way down this year, according to Mary Schneider.

Schneider, a member of the South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts, gave a nest update to the Pawleys Island Civic Association on Aug. 30.

Last year, the island was home to 23 nests, Schneider said, and 2,314 eggs hatched. The success rate for hatchlings was 89 percent.

This year there have only been four nests.

Itís a trend being seen all along the South Carolina coast, Schneider said, adding that marine biologists are blaming the very cold weather last winter and spring.

According to seaturtle.org, there have been 2,038 nests in South Carolina this year, compared to 5,198 in 2013.

Of the four nests on the island, only one has hatched. Only three hatchlings didnít survive in that nest, Schneider said.

SCUTE volunteers take DNA samples from every nest that is inventoried, and Schneider said testing confirmed that 18 turtles laid nests in Litchfield and Pawleys Island last year.

The Pawleys nest that was already inventoried was linked to a turtle that nested on the island two years ago.

Schneider said the dates for the other three nest inventories will be posted at Pawleys Island Town Hall and on SCUTEís Facebook page.

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