If you’re a sick or injured sea turtle, our hospital is the place to be. But just like humans, once our patients are feeling better all they really want to do is get out and go home. Three small, rehabilitated sea turtles got to do just that a few weeks ago. Greens “Little Ray,” “Baker” and “Smee” were pronounced healthy by our sea turtle vet, Dr. Craig Harms.
Dr. Harms had spent over a week here with his class of vet students and residents. Each student was assigned a turtle (or two) to study, taking blood and other samples and giving them thorough physical exams. As we expected, only a handful of our patients got the “OK” for release and it was these three little guys. They were all admitted earlier this year with relatively minor injuries, and their treatments and rehab times were short. Accompanied by hospital staff and a sign bearing their name, each turtle was carried to the surf by their assigned vet student. Once in the water they did what they’ve done since leaving their nests not all that long ago — swim for their lives.
Our fall release is much, much different than our big release in June. We usually have many fewer turtles, and the beach is pretty much devoid of vacationers. Although we’re happy that so many people come to bid our June turtles goodbye this quieter release provides more of an opportunity for our staff to reflect on the wonder of the survival instincts of these amazing creatures and quietly bid them farewell. We do what we love and love what we do.
Hospital closed, until Autumn with Topsail
If you missed us on our last day (September 6)you’ll have one more chance to visit us during the weekend of Autumn with Topsail, October 20 and 21. Even though we’re closed you’re always welcome to stop by and peep in our windows to see what’s going on. If we’re not too busy we may have a chance to step outside to talk with you for a bit. Unfortunately that’s the best we can offer, because we’re spending all of our spare time figuring out the best way to move our turtles, the staff and the massive amount of equipment to the new building.
Thanks to all of you who continue to support us with generous donations, despite the struggling economy. We are grateful to those of you who have dropped cash and checks in our hands, bought your family’s wardrobe in our gift shop, adopted a patient (in some cases multiple patients) and taken our Family Giving Challenge. It’s because of your generosity and belief in what we do that we are able to continue our work. You can still keep track of what’s going on, and order merchandise by visiting our website: www.seaturtlehospital.org.
Hatching nears an end
Just as Terry Meyer, our Director of Beach Operations predicted, most of the remaining nests will have hatched in the next few weeks. We are prohibited by law from disclosing exact locations of the nest, and we honestly don’t know exactly what night those little hatchlings will pop out. If you happen to be there during a hatch you will need to listen to what our trained volunteers are telling you. Although there are only a dozen nests still incubating we continue to rely on you to be our eyes on the beach as we can’t keep watch 24/7. Please report any and all local sea turtle activity (nestings, strandings, injured or sick turtles) immediately to our Director of Beach Operations, Terry Meyer at 910-470-2880. Terry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for non-emergencies. You can also call our Director, Jean Beasley (910-470-2800) or the hospital (910-328-3377) to report activity if you are unable to reach of Terry. All sea turtles are federally protected and harassing or harming them in any way will result in hefty fines and/or imprisonment.
Questions, comments, suggestions?
Please direct any questions, comments or suggestions regarding this column to me at: email@example.com. To be added to the newsletter list e-mail me at the same address. If your e-mail address has recently changed please send me your new one so I can update my master list. You can also access the last newsletter from our website. The next issue, “How We Spent Our Year” is in development and will be out before the holidays. This column now appears every other week until next spring, unless we have really exciting news to share!
Karen Sota is the volunteer media coordinator for the Sea Turtle Hospital in Topsail Beach.