DNR Announces 2010 SC Sea Turtle Nesting Results

The SCDNR Marina Turtle Program announced:

Sea turtle nesting this year ended on a positive note. We had 3141 loggerhead, 6 green and 3 leatherback nests on project beaches. This is compared with 2183 loggerhead, 1 green and 3 leatherback nests in 2009. Please visit our online nest database to view more in-depth summary information about the 2010 season: http://www.seaturtle.org/nestdb/. Genetic samples were collected from each of the loggerhead nests and 22.2% of this data has been analyzed. We are expecting most of this data to be completed before next season, but so far the results are exciting. Results from this study are available to you on the internet: http://www.seaturtle.org/nestdb/genetics.shtml?program=2. To date, we have had a turtle with a distance of over 650 kilometers between successive nests. She nested on Blackbeard Island, GA on June 17th and then nested on Cape Hatteras, NC on July 7th. We are learning that our nesting loggerheads are moving around much more than originally thought. In 2010, we had 100% participation in this study by nest protection projects in South Carolina. This level of participation was critical to the success of this project. We plan to continue this project in 2011 and certainly hope that your project plans to participate again.

There were 138 sea turtle strandings in 2010 (67 loggerheads, 44 Kemp’s ridleys, 21 greens, four leatherbacks and two unknown). One half of these sea turtles stranded in Charleston County. Stranding numbers have averaged around 100 per year over the past ten years. To learn more about strandings in South Carolina please visit: http://www.seaturtle.org/strand/.

As always we ask that you visit our web site frequently, we keep it up-to-date with current information. Please encourage others to learn about our program and to report sea turtle sightings on our web site as well. Our web site address is http://www.dnr.sc.gov/seaturtle/. We also have a SC sea turtle community email. If you would like to join, please send an email to coastbio@dnr.sc.gov. Finally, look out for our 2010 Loggerheadlines newsletter which will be published in January.

We appreciate all that you do for sea turtle conservation in South Carolina and hope you have a warm and happy holiday season.

The Dewees Island sea turtle data, including maps and charts, for 2010 can be viewed at http://www.seaturtle.org/nestdb/index.shtml?view_beach=48&year=2010. You can compare it to the 2009 data at http://www.seaturtle.org/nestdb/index.shtml?view_beach=48&year=2009

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