The online poll to name Fort Fisher’s two new baby loggerheads ends Tuesday
FORT FISHER -- Each summer hundreds of sea turtles emerge from the Atlantic to nest on North Carolina beaches. Healthy spawn will incubate for sixty days without the mother, who leaves after nesting, before hatching and migrating to the sea.
But the feeble ones won’t make it out of the nest. The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher partners with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) every summer to rescue two unhealthy hatchlings, who are placed on exhibit at the popular New Hanover County attraction during their year of recovery.
“When hatchlings are left in nests, they’re prone to predation,” said Gail Lemic, an educator at the aquarium. “The mother will lay up to 100 eggs at a time, and not all of them will make it.”
For the second year, Fort Fisher has opened the naming of its two baby loggerheads to a public vote on its website, where people may select two out of five names selected by staff: Bubbles, Hatch, Noggin, Pearl and Scute.
“People use names to connect to animals,” Lemic said. “The number one question people have when looking at loggerheads is, ‘What is its name?’”
Wildlife resources, which excavates the sea turtle nests after the eggs have hatched, works with local groups to help those babies that were left behind recover.
“They immediately get check-ups with veterinarians, who work with husbandry and animal care to take care of them,” Lemic said.
Loggerheads at the aquarium who have been under care for at least a year are then released back into the ocean, making room for the new arrivals.
Voting closes on Tuesday, with the winning names announced the following day.
This year was a banner years for sea turtle nests along the North Carolina coast, with beaches from Sunset Beach to the Outer Banks reporting record numbers of nests.
The vast majority of turtles that nest in North Carolina are loggerheads, which are considered threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. The turtles also receive special protections under North Carolina law.
Reporter Jonathan Haynes can be reached at 910-343-2339 or Jhaynes@StarNewsOnline.com.