Mother Sea Turtles will swim in from the shore and begin building nests and laying eggs on the beach this weekend.
Sea turtles use beaches and the lower dunes to nest and lay their eggs. Sea turtles deposit an average of about 100 eggs in each nest and lay between 3 and 7 nests during the nesting season.
Myrtle Beach city government is encouraging beach goers to not ‘interfere with sea turtles!’
The Myrtle Beach Police Department said they have received several reports of people shining flashlights on sea turtles trying to come ashore at night to nest in the sand.
Sea turtles are part of two ecosystems, the coastal system and the marine system. If sea turtles become extinct, both the marine and coastal ecosystems would be negatively affected. And because humans utilize the marine ecosystem as a natural resource for food and use the coastal system for a variety of activities, a negative impact to these ecosystems would negatively affect humans.
Not every egg in a nest will hatch, and not all of the hatchlings in a nest will make it out of the nest. The unhatched nests, eggs and trapped hatchlings are good sources of nutrients for the dune vegetation, even the left over egg shells from hatched eggs provide some nutrients. As a result, dune vegetation is able to grow and become stronger with the presence of nutrients from turtle eggs.
As the dune vegetation grows stronger and healthier, the health of the entire coastal ecosystem becomes better. Stronger vegetation and root systems helps to hold the sand in the dunes and helps protect the beach from erosion. If sea turtles become extinct, dune vegetation would lose a major source of nutrients and would de-stabilize the ecosystem, resulting in increased coastal erosion and reduced habitat for wildlife. Once again, all parts of an ecosystem are important, if you lose one, the rest will eventually follow.
Government leaders said “if you see a sea turtle in the ocean or on the beach, stay away from it. Do not shine a light on it or otherwise disturb it. Respect sea turtles by viewing these protected animals responsibly.”
Sea turtles are protected by federal law under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Marine Turtle Protection Act.