Dozens of turtles believed to be dead after artificial light lures them into dunes

A turtle protection volunteer group in Folly Beach believes dozens of baby turtles died, making their way towards artificial light rather than the ocean after hatching. 

Folly Beach Turtle Watch Program says volunteers recently found a nest of hatched turtles with dozens of tracks leading away. However, they say, none of the tracks were going toward the ocean. Instead, they were going along the dunes. 

As the volunteers followed the trails, they saw most of the tracks lead off into the dunes, where they could no longer follow them. Just a few trails led back toward the ocean. 

The group says this is a reminder about how artificial lighting can have a serious effect sea turtle hatchlings. They ask that beachfront property owners make sure to urn off lights that illuminate the beach from 10 p.m. until dawn, as city law requires. 

"No lights are allowed that illuminate the front beach between 10 pm and dawn from May 1st to October 31st. Hatchling turtles are disorientated by artificial light." the city rules say. 

The rescuers say they still have about 50 nests to hatch night before retiring, turn off all lights that face the ocean, including carports, and, if staying up late, close blinds and draperies in oceanfront rooms.

FOX 46 reported on this story from Charlotte, N.C.