The Holden Beach turtle watch program has been in existence since 1989. Their sole responsibility is to monitor and protect the sea turtle population on Holden Beach, North Carolina. This nonprofit conservation organization is made up of all volunteers and operates under the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. There are presently 65 members. Members of the program were excited to announce the first nest of the year was laid on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 in Holden Beach. There were a total of 157 Loggerhead eggs and the nest was relocated. They watch for hatchlings beginning on or about July 9. The area is roped off with yellow tape to protect the nest so steer clear if you see it. The yellow color means the nest was laid in May. For the next 55-70 days of incubation, the nest will be monitored by program volunteers until hatching. At that time, Turtle Patrol members account for each hatchling or non-fertile egg and insure that the baby turtles make it safely into the ocean. This process is repeated with every nest.
Did you know?
- Sea Turtles predate dinosaurs and have existed for over 200 million years.
- There are 8 species of Sea Turtles. 5 visit North Carolina: The Loggerhead, Hawksbill, Kemp’s Ridley, Green (green sea turtle) and Leatherback.
- Mature Loggerhead Turtles weigh up to 400 pounds!
- There are typically 100-125 eggs in each nest.
- A fine of up to $100,000 and or 1 year in prison is the penalty for harassing a Sea Turtle or disturbing its nest.
How you can help
- Turn off all lights that face the ocean before retiring at night including carports. If staying up late, close all blinds and draperies in oceanfront rooms between May 1 and October 31.
- Fill in any large sand holes you dig before nightfall, they could trap a turtle, cause a night or early morning beach walker to fall and possibly break a leg or cause an accident to Turtle Patrol ATV riders in the early morning.
- Call 910-754-0766 to report mother turtles laying nests, injured or stranded turtles, unattended hatchlings, disturbed nests or harassment of a sea turtle. Please use this number only for turtle emergencies.
- Pick up any trash, especially plastic, from the beach. Do not release balloons on the beach. These items look like jellyfish to sea turtles.
To learn more about the Holden Beach turtle watch program visit their website and consider becoming a volunteer.