Local kayaker, Tammy Smith, continues her summer beach patrol of Little Tybee...
Every day, all summer long Tammy kayaks over to Little Tybee, walks the beach, and looks for evidence of Sea Turtle tracks and nests. On finding a nest, she records it's location and covers it with netting to help prevent raccoon intrusion. If the nest is too close to the shore and risks being flooded, Tammy carefully relocates it back behind the high tide line. The eggs are put back into the nest in their original order, since the temperature of the eggs during incubation will determine the sex of the turtle.
A recent three hour tour to Little Tybee included a special experience for our clients. We were fortunate enough to witness the extraction of an egg from a nest. Tammy explained that she is taking part in a multi-state research project with the DNR. One egg is being sacrificed from each nest in order to study the DNA from the shell. So far they have remarkably discovered nesting siblings - remarkable because only 1 in a 1000 turtles survives to sexual maturity. They have also discovered nesting mother-daughter pairs - remarkable because this would put the age of the egg laying mother into her 60s, since the daughter would be in her 30s.
Little Tybee now boasts 10 nests, with 1 having been
destroyed by raccoons and ghost crabs before it could be recorded. Tuesday evening brought 4 new nests in one night. Tammy's efforts have certainly furthered the cause of protecting the Loggerhead Sea Turtle on the Georgia Coast. Her dedication and passion is outstanding and is much appreciated here at SC&K.
Tammy is a trained volunteer and works through the DNR. If you come across an unmarked nest, an injured or dead turtle, please call the Tybee Marine Science Center or the DNR. For more info on turtles check out www.seaturtle.org
or take a family trip to the turtle rehab center on Jekyll Island.