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Loggerhead turtles die after boat strikes off Sullivan’s Island

by Erica Lunsford

Over the weekend two loggerhead sea turtles died after being struck by boats off Sullivan’s Island.

Barb Gobien with the Island Turtle Team says incidents like these usually occur when the turtle comes up to breathe. She says the propellers cut off limbs and damage their shells, and that similar accidents are happening for frequently.

According to Gobien, “most of them have been boat strikes. Last year 34% of DNR strandings were boat strikes, and they’re increasing every year. I think it’s just because more and more people are out in the water whenever it’s a nice day, and they should enjoy the water, but when you’re out you just have to go slower.”

When turtles are found onshore, they are examined by the Island Turtle Team and the Department of Natural Resources. If the turtle is dead, they spray paint it with orange paint so it won’t be confused as a new incident. If the turtle is still alive, they take it to the South Carolina Aquarium to be treated.

Gobien believes if people slow down and look out for turtles, fewer incidents like these will happen.

If you need to report a dead or injured turtle, call 1-800-922-5431.

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