Terrapin nesting season already seeing several causalities along Highway 80

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga (WSAV-TV) – We are in the middle of turtle nesting season around Tybee Island.

Tuesday, several turtles were saved trying to cross highway 80, but the people who were helping those turtles want drivers to be more aware during the nesting season.

“The beach traffic is increasing, the road is dangerous,” says Terrapin Educational Research Program of Savannah member Jordan Gray.

It may be the deadliest time of the year along highway 80, but not for drivers. The danger is to turtles crossing to nesting sites.

“As soon as I got out here, turtles just started crossing everywhere.”

Gray came back to Tybee this summer specifically to save turtles trying to make it across the busy highway. A horde of them were on the move following the heavy rains of tropical storm Colin.

“I got out to get a female turtle that had already been hit but she was still alive closed the door to my car waiting there, line of traffic about ten cars long and i looked at everyone’s eyes and no one’s eyes looked down and saw the turtle and a person just nailed it and finished it.”

Gray says he saved more than thirty diamondback terrapin turtles Tuesday. He adds that more than ten did not make it.

While talking with us, he received a call about two injured turtles he took to the Tybee Animal Care. We followed Gray to the clinic where we were met with both good and bad news, one girl would recover,  another had to be put to sleep.

“It’s just the tragedy you know behind the causeway.”

Another injured turtle passed away earlier in the day, luckily he saved eight of her eggs. Terrapin nesting season lasts until mid July, that’s why Gray is urging drivers commuting on highway 80 in the late morning to be aware of the turtles since we are likely to get more heavy rain during the summer, the turtles will continue to be on the move.

“In the next month, if we have anymore tropical storms that’s going to mean people need to look out the next day for turtles.”

Gray asks if you do see and injured turtle that he does not suggest you stop to save if that puts you in danger. The TERPS program as well as the Tybee Island Marine Science center will take in the turtles to restore them to proper health.

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