Several sea creatures are back where they belong thanks to caring hands in Eastern Carolina.
More than 150 residents and tourists watched Thursday night as two rehabilitated loggerheads and one green turtle were released into the ocean near the Cape Hatteras lighthouse.
Below is the press release on the care and release of turtles:
At 6:30 P.M., with more than 150 residents and tourists on hand, three rehabilitated sea turtles were released into the ocean near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The sea turtles, two loggerheads and one green, had been in the rehabilitation center operated by the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T.) at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island for 3-4 months. One loggerhead, estimated at 18 years old and weighing 84 lbs., had been cold stunned and beached itself, then was attacked around the eyes by seagulls. Its right eye was successfully treated, with help from the Roanoke Island Animal Clinic, Manteo, NC and the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine in Raleigh. The other loggerhead had been cold stunned. The green turtle recovered from a broken clavicle and damage to its shell (carapace). A fourth turtle, a Kemps Ridley, was released three days ago at Atlantic Beach, N.C. (Photos attached. Credits to George R. Pruitt)
Over the course of the 2009 winter season, more than 30 turtles were treated and released from the rehabilitation center. Staff from the aquarium, plus a dozen N.E.S.T. volunteers operated the rehabilitation program, under permit from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Assistance in returning the turtles to the Gulf Stream during the colder weather was provided by the U.S. Coast Guard. The 70 degree water temperature made it possible to do this release from the shore. N.E.S.T. is preparing for the summer nest monitoring season. The first nest laid in North Carolina in 2009 was found on Holden Beach on May 16. Residents and visitors are reminded that it is against the law to disturb turtles and their nests. Anyone sighting a nesting turtle or signs in the sand that a turtle has come ashore is requested to report the sighting to the N.E.S.T. hotline at 252-441-8622. For more information contact Christian Guerreri at the N.C.Aquarium (tele:252-473-3494) or George Pruitt for N.E.S.T. (tele:252-256-2810)
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