Volunteers rescue mama loggerhead on Hunting Island

2 mins read

In 18 years as a sea turtle conservation specialist on Hunting Island, Buddy Lawrence thought he had seen and done it all.

On Thursday, July 5, he added to the list.

A turtle team in zone 4, south of South Beach and nearly to the breach, found a mother loggerhead turtle stuck in a hole under a downed tree. Lawrence believes she was trapped around 3 or 4 a.m. while searching for a nesting area. The same turtle had made three other non-nesting crawls that same night, attempting to find a good spot to lay her eggs. There are already four successful nests in the same area, but this particular turtle was just unlucky. 

Luckily, Merle Wolfgang, a volunteer in Katrina Rossman’s team, saw the mama stuck in the hole. If she and the volunteers in her team had not found the turtle, she would have died in the heat of the sun. Lawrence and volunteers Ernie Wilson and Bob Bobko were able to free the turtle and help her return to the sea.

Loggerhead turtles can weigh up to 350 pounds, and rescuing a trapped turtle was not an easy operation. The rescue team had to dig the sand out from under her to free her enough to get her up and over the log. The operation took about an hour. 

The Friends of Hunting Island Sea Turtle Conservation Project’s goal is to protect as many turtles, their nests, and their hatchlings as possible. Loggerhead turtles are threatened in the U.S. and endangered worldwide because of human encroachment of habitat, boat accidents, and nest predation. 

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