Hurricane Dorian impacts sea turtle nests on Hunting Island

Hurricane Dorian impacts sea turtle nests on Hunting Island

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Trackers in Beaufort County say Hurricane Dorian did have some negative impacts on sea turtle nests.

Officials showed us a nest that hatched in between the time they evacuated Hunting Island and when they went back to assess the damage. They say the hurricane could have done a lot worse to the nests.

Hunting Island has a record of 157 turtle nests in one year. This year, they almost beat that number.

“We had a big year. We had 153 nests, which is the highest in recent record keeping," said Beth Glass, Co-Director, Hunting Island Turtles.

Sea turtle nesting season is almost over, and with Dorian coming, conservationists were worried about what would happen to the eggs that have not hatched.

“When we left, we had 47 left on the beach. 27 of those got washed over, which means 20 of them didn’t even get hit."

Of the nests that were impacted, six were destroyed, but conservationists don’t want to focus on the negative. Instead, they are excited so many survived.

"It was a big relief to come back and see that so many nests had made it."

They say the nests are like their children, and they are proud when they hatch, especially when it is one lake nest 138, which they moved by hand to protect.

“One nest actually hatched when we were gone. Nest 138; it was relocated here.”

That’s not the only nest that hatched in post-hurricane Hunting Island.

“135 and 136 have hatched since we’ve been back," Glass said.

Most of the nests are on the south side of the beach, which Glass says actually helped many of them survive.

They say this year was one of their best years ever for turtle hatching, and they’re hoping that next year is even better.

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