Stranded Loggerhead Sea Turtle Rescued on Hunting Island

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Monday afternoon, an adult loggerhead sea turtle was discovered by the Godley family, owners of Shrimp Shack, while hiking on the southern island created by a breach of the lagoon on Hunting Island caused by Hurricane Matthew. The mama turtle, weighing 260 pounds, was stranded on a sandbar when the Godleys spotted her. Rarely are live loggerheads seen during the day on shore.

With the assistance of Megan Stegmeir and Buddy Lawrence, both Hunting Island State Park employees, as well as Chris Crosley and Joan Orvis, of Friends of Hunting Island, the turtle was lifted onto a tarp and into the back of an ATV. She was then loaded into an SUV at the Nature Center and transported to the Sea Turtle Hospital at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston. 

Dr Shane Boylan, the Chief Veterinarian who examined her, said that she had a good chance of recovering even though there were signs of probable shark bites on all her flippers. While there, an ultrasound showed that she had developing egg follicles, which indicates that she is in her nesting season.  

Buddy Lawrence, who is the Friends of Hunting Island Sea Turtle Patrol Specialist and holds the Marine Turtle Permit from South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, stated that he had only seen one other stranding like this in the last 19 years. 

For more information about Friends of Hunting Island’s Sea Turtle Conservation Project go to the website at friendsofhuntingisland.org.

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