Jul 29 2012

Loggerhead Nests Poached on Folly

The 58 Loggerhead nests along Folly’s beaches are hard to miss. They’re marked with orange tape and signs that warn of the Federal and state laws protecting adult turtles, hatchlings, and eggs. But according to the Folly Beach Turtle Watch Program, poachers ransacked two nests, stealing all the eggs buried inside and decreasing the already precarious numbers of hatchlings.

According to the Folly Beach Turtle Watch Program, which was set up by SC Department of Natural Resources to help protect adult and baby turtles and their nests along Folly, over 200 eggs were stolen from two different nests in a span of a few days. The thieves left footprints around the nests, making it obvious what had happened. Although it isn’t clear why these were stolen, Loggerhead eggs have been sold on the black market or eaten as fine cuisine.

Folly’s Loggerheads are known for their nesting loyalty since they return to the nest where they hatched years earlier. Mother turtles venture on to the beach on summer nights, dig holes around the high-tide line and lay their eggs before returning to the ocean. The buried eggs hatch 45 to 65 days later, and hatchlings have to make their way down the beach and out to the Gulf Stream, 30 miles off shore. Only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings is expected to survive to adulthood. Predators, pollution, boats, and people are all serious threats to baby and adult turtles.

Disturbing Loggerhead nests can earn a fine between $1,000 and $25,000. The Folly Beach Turtle Watch Program is offering a $100 reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone involved in the poaching of the two Folly Beach nests.

E-mail crew@follyturtles.com with any information, or to learn more about the turtles on Folly,visit Follyturtles.com.

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Folly Turtles

Bob Hart Author

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