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  • Writer's pictureStar Sota

Sea Turtle Hospital News

May continues to be a busy month at our hospital with turtles being admitted with hooks, boat impact injuries and because they are just plain sick. That stuff isn’t fun. But what is fun is getting our first verified loggerhead nest on North Topsail on May 12th. Our Topsail Turtle Project volunteers have been out since May 1st and will be pounding the early morning sand until the end of August. We never know from year to year what kind of nesting season we’ll have but word is that those ladies are out there and will all be heading in with a singular purpose. We’ll update you on our turtle moms as we move into the Summer.

And speaking of Summer: our eleven senior interns (out of one-hundred-sixty-four applicants) are now on board and being trained in the finer points of turtle rehab by our year-round staff. It’s quite a diverse group and you’ll meet them during your tour. After a few weeks we’ll hand them the reins and step into the background to monitor their progress. Joining them are twenty-eight junior interns who will be mentored by our seniors as they work in groups of four for a two-week commitment. They like conducting tours so come prepared with your turtle questions. It’s fun getting to know these kids and it gives us regulars a little bit of a break.

Most of you are aware that we’ve been in the turtle biz for quite some time. In fact, this is our 25th year, and beginning June 1st through August we will be showcasing our success with twenty-five special events and programs. Public turtle releases, lectures, history, “retro adoptions,” commemorative stickers and organized beach clean-ups are only a few items on the agenda. We’ll share details in the coming weeks, but you’ll definitely want to “save the date” of Sunday, July 16th for something really exciting.

Our tour schedule for June and July is seven days a week: Mon – Fri, 12-4; Saturday 11-3 and Sunday 11-2. . Tickets must be purchased in advance through our website You can visit the gift shop during those hours without taking the tour.

NOTE: The town is working on Charlie Medlin Drive for the next few months and frankly, it’s a mess. Please plan accordingly so you’re on time for your tours. The road is subject to major flooding and may close. In that case you must access our hospital by an alternate route through the back gate behind the Surf City Community Center. That gate will be open only if Charlie Medlin Dr. is closed.

In addition to hooked and debilitated turtles, keep your eyes peeled for nesting mothers and turtle tracks. If you come across any sick, injured or nesting turtles immediately call our Director of Beach Operations, Terry Meyer at: 910-470- 2880. If she is not available, call the hospital during operating hours: 910-329- 0222. The State of NC hotline for stranded, sick and injured turtles is 252- 241-7367. The state number picks up 24/7. All conservation work for endangered sea turtles at KBSTRRC and on Topsail Island is authorized by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, ES Permit 23ST05.

Nesting mom returns home after a long night.


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