A nesting loggerhead sea turtle found her way into a bad spot on Hunting Island beach Thursday morning and was rescued, luckily, by members of the turtle patrol who were on the beach at the time. The first turtle rescued at Hunting Island this season.
According to Friends of Hunting Island’s Sea Turtle Conservation group, the female loggerhead was caught wedged under a fallen tree along the South Beach area and could not get out.
“Our estimate is that she had been trapped in that spot for a few hours already by the time we found her,” said Buddy Lawrence, team member who led the rescue with assistance from other volunteers.
Lawrence, along with volunteers Ernie Wilson, Merle Wolfgang and Bob Bobko dug the 200 pound out of the spot she was stuck in and sent her back off into the sea.
“She would have succumbed to the heat if we had not found her,” Buddy added.
Lawrence, who has volunteered with the program for some 18 years now, said that this is the fiist time in 18 years that he’s ever seen one stuck under a tree.
“We get strandings at Hunting Island from time to time, but this is definitely a first.”
“They’re usually pretty good at getting themselves out of predicaments.”
Sea turtle nesting season started around May 1st and this is the first loggerhead stranding we’ve had on our Lowcountry beaches. Earlier in the season, park ranger Megan Stegmier assisted over a several hour period in rescuing a rare leatherback turtle that was tangled up in a crab pot rope along the beach.
We thank the volunteers who comb nearly every square foot of our local beaches every morning.
Without them, this story most likely would have ended badly.
Learn more about Friends of Hunting Island sea turtle conservation efforts here.