We don’t have a camel wandering through our halls asking if it’s hump day, but we do have one very large loggerhead lady who’s getting pretty excited about a rapidly approaching Saturday. We’re celebrating March 15th as “Padi’s Day.” Although not of the same status as that famous March “Saint Patrick” she has endured her long road to recovery with the patience of a saint.
Padi was admitted in the wee hours of the morning in October of 2012 with most of her left flipper missing. Most likely she narrowly escaped being a hefty meal for a very big predator. She wasn’t a pretty sight, with that ragged flesh and exposed bone sticking out like a gnawed-off chicken leg. And she had to be in a lot of pain because the wound was clearly recent. But other than the injury that brought her to us this old gal was in surprisingly good shape, with minimal battle scars. Clearly she has a lot of reef smarts.
After being started on supporting fluids, antibiotics and pain medication Padi began her recovery in one of the largest tanks we had available while awaiting her date with the surgeon. At the School of Veterinary Medicine at NC State the bone was removed and her stubby flipper was cleaned and stitched. Back at the ranch she proved just how much of a fighter she was, cruising around with her shortened limb like it was no big deal, always on the look-out for an extra helping of squid and fish. And talk about “Ms. Congeniality!” This lady never misses an opportunity to greet each and every volunteer as they pass by, popping her giant head up and blowing garlicky turtle kisses in our faces. She has been a dream patient.
Luckily Padi was still with us last fall when we admitted another loggerhead in very critical condition with an extremely low blood count. Our turtle vet, Dr. Craig Harms felt that a blood transfusion from another turtle would give this poor critter a fighting chance. Want to guess who raised her big old (remaining) flipper? That selfless act by Padi saved the life of “Alpha” who is still under our care in Sea Turtle Sick Bay (ICU.)
We’re honoring this very special lady by proclaiming March 15th “Padi’s Day” and opening our hospital for tours from 11-3. It will be your chance to meet this amazing turtle along with all of her friends, some of them literally “wearing the green.” You can also have your picture taken with our hospital mascot, pick up some new spring duds in our gift shop and adopt one of our patients at “Adoption Central.”
Directions to our hospital in Surf City: Take the turn from Rts. 50/210 onto Charlie Medlin Dr. (Shipwreck Point Golf Course is your landmark for this road.) Follow the road onto the gravel section and through the roundabout to Tortuga Lane. Stay on Tortuga until it ends and make the left into our parking lot. Come in through the double glass doors. Admission: $5 adults, $4 seniors and active military with ID, $3 children. See you on “Padi’s Day.”
Classes scheduled for Topsail Turtle Project volunteers
What are you doing this summer? Want to help our sea turtles but can’t commit to our hospital year-round? Have we got a job for you! We need volunteers to walk a short section of beach (about one mile) one or more days a week beginning May 1st through the end of August. Under the direction of your area coordinator you’ll patrol your section of the shoreline (finishing no later than 7:30 AM) looking for turtle tracks and signs of a nesting mama.
We’ve scheduled two training sessions so you’ll know exactly what this early morning promenade involves: April 2 from 1 to 3 p.m. and April 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. Training will be held at the Surf City Welcome Center (next to Daddy Mac’s.) Everybody is welcome, and even if you’re not sure you can commit to a day each week come anyway; there is always a need for subs and for volunteers to work into the hatching season sitting nests at night. While not mandatory for returning volunteers, there’s a lot of new research out there and updates on the “egg” study that we’ve been participating in for a number of years. For more information contact Director of Beach Operations Terry Meyer at email@example.com.
And the next tour date is …
April 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. We’ll be celebrating again with another one of our big gals taking the spotlight and with more surprises in store for visitors.
Our cold-stunned admittance has dropped significantly from previous winters, and we can only surmise that the weather has been so cold that the poor little critters never had a chance — they just literally froze to death out there. But in the event that you do come across a turtle in distress here are the basic steps for a cold-stun rescue. Remove the turtle from the beach or water and place it in an unheated area such as your garage, car or utility room. Do not try to warm it up! That could cause the turtle to go into shock. The N.C. state hotline for any stranding is 252-241-7367 and the call will be picked up 24/7. Locally, if you come across any turtle in distress you can text or phone our director, Jean Beasley at 910-470-2800 or our beach director, Terry Meyer, at 910-470-2880. Please report any and all local sea turtle activity (strandings, injured or sick turtles) immediately to Jean or Terry.
Questions, comments, suggestions?
Please direct any questions, comments or suggestions re: this column to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: email@example.com. I’m working on the next edition, but there’s so much to talk about that it’s tough knowing what to include, and things change daily! It’s a long process, and we have a lot of work to do before our grand opening so we ask for your patience while we try to get it together. If your e-mail address has recently changed please send me your new one so I can update my master list.
Karen Sota is the volunteer media coordinator for the Sea Turtle Hospital in Topsail Beach.