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# Sea Turtle Rehabilitation

One thing we couldn’t miss, as we walked along the beaches of Topsail Island, were the sea turtle nests.

I spent a few days with my girls visiting our friends, the Burke Family, who have a house in Surf City, North Carolina.

The beaches of Topsail Island are only a few minutes away and we saw the roped off sea turtle nests each day that we were at the beach.

My friend Sonya told us about the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, which is near her house. We made a plan to visit the next day.

Sea Turtle
Sea Turtle nests at the beach. Photo Credit: Sonya Burke
The Rehabilitation Center

The mission of the center is the conservation and preservation of the sea turtle species. They provide rescue, care, and release, as well as educate the public about sea turtles.

Internships and Volunteers

There are many jobs at the rehabilitation center and they offer positions for volunteers as well as internships. Some of their tasks include; feeding turtles, cleaning tanks, involvement in medical procedures and working with the public to educate them about the turtles.

The volunteers and interns we met all had a role to teach us about sea turtles and the environment. It is heartbreaking to hear how much humans contribute to the cause of sea turtle suffering.

Sea Turtle
Inside the turtle shell.
Cold Stunning

Many sea turtles are rescued from being “cold-stunned”.

This occurs when air temperatures drop in an area rapidly. The water temperature in shallow areas drops as well. Sea turtles are cold-blooded, so their body temperature adjusts to the temperature around them.

If it gets cold too fast, it slows down their circulatory system. This results in a severe decrease in their breathing. Many times, they go into shock. They need treatment as soon as possible. If the turtles are found by members of the public, they need to be aware of the local centers who can help the turtles. Sadly, many people are unaware of the turtles becoming “cold-stunned” and assume the turtle is dead.

This is what the center is for, to educate the people and take care of turtles.

Tubs of Turtles

It was special to learn the stories of some of the turtles and see them swim in their tubs.

One of the turtles had lost part of his flipper due to an attack by an alligator.

The only permanent resident of the facility is an old, blind turtle who can’t be safely released back into the ocean.

Sea Turtle

Clean Beaches

As we toured the center, each volunteer taught us something new.

As a society, we can’t leave garbage around. We also need to pick it up on the beach, so it doesn’t injure the turtle population.

The beaches of Topsail Island are some of the cleanest and pristine I have ever seen.

Sea Turtle
Sea turtle nesting area. Photo Credit: Sonya Burke
In Conclusion

We enjoyed our tour of the rehabilitation center and were impressed by all of the hard work which goes into the rehabilitation of the turtles.  To volunteer or sponsor a turtle, please click here and visit their website.

Also, if you ever visit the coast of North Carolina, be sure to pay a visit to the center.

Sea Turtle Rehabilitation North Carolina




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