Monday, July 15, 2024

Despite Hurricane Florence, Holden Beach sea turtles beat the odds

The Holden Beach Turtle Patrol is hosting a series of summer classes to help educate residents and visitors on sea turtles in the area.

HOLDEN BEACH — The destruction of Hurricane Florence affected thousands of people across the region, but the storm impacted more than just people. In Holden Beach, an unlikely story of survival came from two little turtles.

The Holden Beach Turtle Patrol was keeping a close eye on turtle nests on the beaches when Hurricane Florence made its way to the coast.

Generally, a storm like Florence brings an end to the turtle season and with two unhatched nests found before the evacuation, there was some doubt to the survival of the hatchlings.

“After the storm, a team went out to check these remaining nests. To their surprise, one of the nests had two hatchlings trying to get out. Both baby turtles were energetic and went right into the water, so a happy ending. Both nests had hatched and were relatively dry, so [it was] considered a success. They did it on their own despite Mother Nature’s fury, according to a Holden Beach Turtle Patrol press release.

“Leatherbacks are the largest of all sea turtles and can be 4-8 feet long and weigh between 500-2,000 pounds.  Although they don’t frequently come to Holden Beach, Leatherbacks are one of the types of sea turtles that lay eggs on North Carolina beaches,” according to the Turtle Patrol.

For those interested in learning more about sea turtles, the group is hosting a series of ‘Turtle Talks’ this summer.

The talks will be held every Wednesday in June, July, and August and are free to attend; there will also be an additional program for kids interested in learning more about the sea turtle population.

“Holden Beach is a Turtle Sanctuary and every year sea turtles are welcomed and protected on the beach. Founded in 1989, the HBTP protects sea turtles through education, nest protection, and sea turtle rescue. The Turtle Patrol operates under the authority of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. In its 31st year, this all-volunteer program is supported by the sale of an annual T-shirt and donations,” according to the release.

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