SCUTE or South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts, is a group of all volunteers that work to save the sea turtles in Horry and Georgetown Counties.
SCUTE was organized in 1990 and is based out of Pawley’s Island. The organization is permitted by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to protect and if need be, relocate the turtle nests.
One of the issues with saving the turtles is lighting, and most people don’t realize this. Nesting female turtles and their hatchlings suffer from this the most. Hatchlings follow the lights and that is why they don’t make it to the ocean. Within the last three years Georgetown county and the town of Pawley’s Island have been able to pass ordinances to limit the lights along the beach. This is due to the SCUTE organization. It has also been limited in Horry County as well. SCUTE records more than 100 loggerhead nests with over 12,000 eggs along Horry-Georgetown beaches.
Even though female Sea turtles lay hundreds of eggs during each season volunteer’s estimate only 70 percent of them survive. It takes 30 or more years for them to reach adulthood, and a limited number of them survive that long. Predators eat the eggs, and sometimes they are stolen by poachers or just wash away by beach erosion. For instance, here are some ways you can help.
- If you see mesh screens protecting the nests on the beach, don’t disturb them.
- Avoid walking in the areas of nests, as you can crush the eggs by stepping on them.
- Stay away from all turtle nests and report them to SCUTE at 843-237-9821 or 843-237-4440.
- Contact the S.C. Wildlife Department at 1-800-922-5431 if you see someone disturbing a nest.
If you would like to join in and help SCUTE save the Sea Turtles you can find out more by contacting SCUTE directly by phone 843-237-9821, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on facebook
Written by, Shannon Uhrie, Hassan Mccallum, ,Trevor Burgess. and Mathew Gasper ;Students at Horry Georgetown Technical College.