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Saturday, December 9, 2017

2017 Sea Turtle Nesting Season

Nests: 21
  In Situ: 2
  Relocated: 19 (90.4%)
  Inventoried: 21 (100%)
False Crawls: 9

Estimated Eggs to Date: 2483
  Eggs Lost: 28 (1.1%)
  Hatched Eggs: 2280
  Emerged Hatchlings: 2026
  Mean Incubation Duration (all): 54.8 days
  Mean Clutch Count: 120.1 eggs (Relocated Only)

Mean Hatch Success: 92.1%
Mean Emergence Success: 81.2%
Nest Success: 95.2%
Beach Success: 70%

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Kathy.....Large Live Loggerhead

Kathy was found by Horry County Sanitation workers early on November 1st, laying on the beach just above the high tide line in front of the Hilton, Kingston Plantation, in the unincorporated section of Horry County, just north of the Apache Pier.  SC DNR was quickly notified, SC DNR called NMB STP to investigate and transport to SC Sea Turtle Care Center in Charleston.

Kathy was a very emaciated, lethargic loggerhead, weighing 123 pounds.   Kathy was covered with puff mud and barnacles.  She also had a significant amount of leeches on her eyelids, snares and soft tissue around neck, flippers and inside of her mouth.  She also was found to have an old, healed boat strike wound on her carapace.   Kathy's rear flipper may have been affected by this boat strike, she has very little movement in them.  A December 1st CT Scan showed no severe damage to her spine.

Kathy also defecated two pieces of plastic........

A very sick turtle.......

 A HUGE thanks to Horry County Sanitation and Horry County Police for reporting this turtle.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


On Oct 21st reports started coming in about an entangled large sea turtle just off the end of the Apache Pier.  A turtle was seen coming up to the surface in the same general location for a couple of days.  NMB STP made a quick trip to the pier but could not see the turtle.  SC DNR was notified and they called in the SC DNR Law Enforcement who came to the Pier on Sunday,  Oct 22,  two Law Enforcement Officials spent over an hour dragging the vacinity off the pier where the turtle was seen.  The turtle made one brief appearance as the boat was getting ready to leave and then disappeared again..

As the boat was leaving, call came in fron the other side of the pier, we have a hooked loggerhead.  Sure enough, a large juvenile loggerhead,  This poor guy was in rough shape, missing a good share of it's right front flipper.  The raw part of the injury was where the hook was located.  The turtle thrashed around and tried to dislodge the hook with it's mouth.  Several attempst were made to net the turtle, using a large drop net especially made by the NMB STP for large turtles.  The turtle evaded the net, swam under the pier and broke the line.

Many bystanders claimed to have seen this turtle before, watching the turtle from the pier and feeling bad for the damaged flipper.  Some claimed to have seen it for weeks.

Then, on Wednesday, Oct 25, call came that around 9AM, the turtle had been hooked again, this time around the mouth and several fisherman had been able to net it.  Despite it's heavy weight, it was hauled up onto the Pier.  The NMB STP could not respond to the call so notified SC DNR who immediately sent two of their staff up to the Pier, a 2.5 hour drive from Charleston.

Thus begins Clumpy's journey in the SC SeaTurtle Care Center.  Clumpy arrived late in the afternoon, weighing in at a hefty 142 pounds, fiesty as ever.  Quick triage, most obvious wound was the missing front flipper, thought to be the result of a prior entanglement.  Although healing, marine leeches invaded the raw wound, causing an infection.   Radiosgraphs showed two broken hook fragments, one in injured flipper, the other in the esophagus.

Clumpy never lost her appetite and within days was eating well.  Shortly after arriving she did pass several pieces of marine debris including wood, monofilament line, fishing lures and styrofoam floats.  Her fecal matter also included different types of fish bones as well as a stingray barb.  It is felt she was hanging around the Pier a while, feeding on scraps and snagging on lines.

By November 1st, Clumpy was moved into the recovery area of the Zucher Family Sea Turtle Care Center.   Still active and very fiesty......a wonderful turtle

Monday, May 15, 2017

Briar returns home for the 2nd time

Briar was found on the extreme northern section of Cherry Grove Beach early in the morning on June 8, 2016.  She was stranded on a large sandbar in a shallow tide pool.  But tide was coming in and the sandbar was quickly disappearing.  NMB Beach Patrol was asked by NMB STP for help and they quickly responded and were able to get the large, 155 pound turtle off the beach and into a car for transport.  Once at the Sea Turtle Hospital in Charleston, it was quickly confirmed that this was a turtle of first.....first time a returning patient, first time same transporter brought the turtle in 2 times, first turtle to have cataract surgery..... Briar, the rock star was returned to the hospital.  Briar had first stranded in late May of 2013, suffering from DTS and found to have cataracts in both eyes.  Briar underwent surgery in 2014 and was released in the summer of 2014. 

This time she was found less than 13 miles from her first stranding, even though she had been released over 100 miles south.  But her injuries were severe, suffering from an old boat strike which slowed her down to the point she just couldn't fight currents any more.   It was apparent she had been thriving in the ocean, eating typical loggerhead food, hard shell prey until her run in with a boat.    

11 months later, Briar was ready to be released for the second time, weighing in at over 200 pounds.... On May 4, in a private release on the Isle of Palm, Briar went home......again......

Monday, May 1, 2017

MAY 2017 More strandings

Stranding continued into May.    On May 9th a large sea turtle was reported rolling in the surf around 33rd Ave S, Windy Hill.   Beach Patrol pulled the turtle out of the surf.  NMB STP was called to process the stranding.

Large turtle, may have been a young adult so keratin sample was taken for DNA. No known cause of death, turtle very decomposed.

Last May Stranding was another dead Loggerhead.   This one at near the end of May, May 25th.  Found by NMB STP Volunteer, Charles and his daughter as they were walking around the large sandbar at the extreme northern end of Cherry Grove.  But by the time the turtle was found and the stranding line was called, a large thunderstorm was fast rolling in.  Measurements were quickly taken as NMB Beach Patrol watched from a distance, concerned for our safety.  Two of us drag this 50-pound juvenile turtle back to the beach and asked Beach PAtrol to dispose of it as we ran off the beach.  Two of us spent about an hour in the staircase of the nearest condo complex, listening and watching as the storm pummeled the beach.   

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