Turtle freed from tangled kite string

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Special to the Beacon


Summertime is turtle time in Brunswick County — a time turtle volunteers, vacationers and local residents look forward to, when mother turtles make their yearly crawl on land to deposit their eggs.

Those are moments not many experience, not even the volunteers who walk the beaches every day checking for nests.

One 12-year-old girl named Julie Bugg not only saw one, but rescued him. Julie, her brother Carter, and mom and dad, Jeannette and Robert Bugg, were out in their boat exploring Tubbs Inlet in Sunset Beach when Julie spotted a stranded turtle she later named Barney.

Barney had had the misfortune of entangling himself in kite string.  He was so badly bound he could hardly move his flippers and the string was almost penetrating his skin.

Not wasting any time, Robert called police, who in turn contacted Carmel Zetts, overseer of the Sunset Beach Turtle Patrol. Turtle patrol volunteers acted quickly and, combined with the efforts of the Buggs, Barney was freed.

According to the turtle patrol, Barney was not an adult. He will probably have almost 20 more years before he reaches maturity.

The rescue has given him a chance to reach adulthood and become a father of many babies that will hatch on local beaches.

According to the turtle patrol, everyone can help make that happen by picking up trash not only on the beaches, but in the communities, too.

Balloons are an example of “deadly trash” that entangle and kill turtles and other ocean creatures. Fishermen leave behind fishing line that also kills. Plastic bags blow into the water and hurt shore birds.

Small differences can be made, just as Bugg did with her effort to rescue Barney.


The Sunset Beach Turtle Patrol leads two turtle programs weekly during the summer months, at 7 p.m. Sundays in the parking lot at Sunset Properties, 419 Sunset Blvd. St. on the Sunset Beach island, and another at noon Wednesdays at Ingram Planetarium, 7625 High Market St in Sunset Beach.