No visits from mama turtles as I write this, but we typically start seeing nesting activity towards the end of this month. Even though we have absolutely no control of when and where the moms show up that doesn’t stop the friendly competition among the area coordinators to snag the coveted first nest title — it comes with dinner and lots of turtle talk.
We’re already getting inquiries as to whether we have turtle walks. We do not, as past experience has shown that they are not productive. When and where mama decides to nest is totally out of our control. We typically have about 100 nests a year and we couldn’t have predicted the time and place for even one of those! Heading out with a group does not increase your chances of seeing a nesting turtle; they come when they feel the need and have no regard for schedules. And please don’t think we’re being evasive if we tell you “we don’t know” when you ask where and when you can see a nesting turtle. It’s the truth; we really don’t know.
Although we have many Topsail Turtle Project flip-flops on the sand every morning through the end of August, we still rely heavily on our locals and visitors to report any sighting of nesting turtles, as well as any turtles in any kind of distress. Please report all local sea turtle activity to Director of Beach Operations Terry Meyer at 910-470-2880. If unable to reach her you may also contact Director Jean Beasley at 910-470-2800. The state also has a hotline for strandings (injured or sick turtles): 252-241-7367 and the call will be picked up 24/7.
Let’s get physical(s) — again
Our very own turtle vet, Dr. Craig Harms returns next week for a second round of physicals, this time on the guys and gals in Sea Turtle Bay. Last month’s physicals on the “pick ‘em up and carry them to the table” babies were a breeze compared to what we’re in for this time. These turtles have not been handled on a regular basis like the smaller ones, so they’ve pretty much reverted to being wild and crazy reptiles. And they’re big — bigger than most of our volunteers. It’s doubtful that they’ll hop up on the scale, stay still for measurements, open wide for a peek down their throat and then literally stick their neck out to donate blood. But we can hope. Those with a passing grade go on the list for our series of June releases. The ones that don’t? Well, they’ll be on the tour when we open for the season.
Check out this month’s edition of “Our State” magazine for a great picture of our turtle doc doing what he does best. When I complimented him on his full-page picture he commented that “you can’t go wrong leading with a sea turtle!”
The interns are coming
After a record number of applications, this year’s crop of college-level summer interns has been selected and will arrive on May 25. It was tough to choose only eight when you have applicants that are outstanding in so many ways; but we did it, and now we’re excited to meet them and get them started. They’re coming from near (UNCW) and far (Alaska and California) with a variety of educational backgrounds and work experience. You’ll get to meet them over the course of the next few months in this column.
Summer tours just around the corner
We will open our doors to everyone beginning June 5. Days and hours can be found on our website (seaturtlehospital.org) and our Facebook page (The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center). Any upcoming releases will also be announced on the Facebook page, so check it out daily.
Questions, comments, suggestions?
Please direct any questions, comments or suggestions re: this column to me at: email@example.com. This column is in the off-season schedule of publication of every other week. To be added to the newsletter list e-mail me at the same address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Next edition is “under construction.”
Karen Sota is the volunteer media coordinator for the Sea Turtle Hospital in Topsail Beach.