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Sea turtles saved from storm drain

A dramatic and emotional rescue of newly-hatched sea turtles from a storm drain at Edisto Beach has turned into a YouTube video that is catching an upswing on social media.
The video was originally posted on July 15th by South Carolina Department of Natural Resources employee and sea turtle specialist Leah Schwartzentruber.
Schwartzentruber does have a permit with the Town of Edisto Beach to help rescue sea turtles, as part of the town’s voluntary Loggerhead Patrol group.
In the video, which she shot herself from her cell phone during the rescue, the tiny baby sea turtles were pulled from a sand-covered storm drain. The drain is located near the town’s gas station along Palmetto Boulevard. The turtles hatched about one-quarter-of-a-mile away from the rescue site: the sea turtle nest was found along the beach, in front of the Edisto Beach State Park. About 10 hatchlings came from the nest.
While several sea turtles were rescued, several more of the newly-born babies were crushed along the busy road. The remnants of the hatchlings were caught in an emotional scene during the three-minute-long video, which is circulating on Facebook and YouTube.
Following the posting of the video, this newspaper called the Town of Edisto Beach to inquire about the incident. Officials with the Town of Edisto Beach say there are current plans to install new “turtle-friendly” lights along the town’s streets and corridors. The installation of the new lights will begin with the areas closest to the coastline, particularly at or near the town’s gas station along Palmetto Boulevard. This is the town’s main thoroughfare that runs parallel to the coastline.
There are some of these sea-turtle lights already on the beach, say officials.
These turtle-friendly lights are more commonly called “amber lights:” they are known to not have a “glowing” property that resembles the moon, which is a natural guide for turtles as they seek the sea.
The Town of Edisto Beach has very strict rules in place during sea turtle season, which runs from May through October each year. These rules include a “lights out” policy for all front-beach houses and businesses. The rules also encourage beach-goers to remove all beach paraphernalia from the sand at the end of the day. This will keep turtles from becoming trapped on the sand while en route to the sea. The town also has a volunteer-based group that monitors and patrols the beach daily for newly-laid nests. The nests are then protected by the group’s volunteers to keep people from trampling them before the turtles can hatch.
The nest that hatched on the 18th was the sixth-counted nest along Edisto Beach. The sea turtle season has thus far been slower than average: officials have previously reported this was because of the colder-than-normal temperatures of the ocean at the start of the sea turtle-nesting season.

Heather Walters (1389 Posts)