Sea Turtle Hospital News

Sea Turtle Hospital
And it’s “déjà vu all over again.” No sooner did we send twelve of our kids out on their own than we had to turn around to wash, rinse and release another sixteen. So back to the beach we went last Wednesday with a caravan of big and small, long term and short term hospital graduates. We were incredibly appreciative that “Sunny” and “Remora” were going home. Those two large loggerheads were in abysmal shape when they were admitted with multiple injuries that put them in serious jeopardy of ever setting flipper in the Atlantic again. And now there they were, rolling down the beach to the cheers of the crowd and the tears of those of us who dedicated hundreds of hours to those two turtle warriors. And “Pooh,” the not-so-little anymore green who fought for over two years to beat bone disease, and who holds the record as “the most adopted” turtle. Everybody wanted to adopt this guy because he was a stunningly beautiful turtle with an infectious personality. He wanted us to thank you all for your support, and he hopes that you will continue to be just as generous so that the friends he left behind can join him soon. The parade continued with our staff and interns transporting a mix of smaller greens and Kemp’s until finally the last flipper crested a wave and ducked out of sight. A lot of our patients have gone home, but we still have more healthy critters being added to our release roster. Keep checking our Facebook page for your chance to be part of the next celebration.

And I promised that you’d get to meet our senior interns in this column, so let’s start with Jordan Teixeira who I managed to corral while he was working on new admit “Dutchman.” This Taunton, MA native will graduate in December from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts with a degree in Environmental Studies. Although our internship is his first voyage into the wonderful world of sea turtles he’s no stranger to their land-based relatives. At Bristol County Agricultural High School he spent about six hours a day working with state and federally endangered land turtles, and also garter snakes. Jordan described the work as primarily a breeding operation that provided stock, for example the Chinese Box and Blanding’s turtles, for reintroduction into their native environments once they reached an age that would give them a better chance at success. The sea turtle world has a similar program where hatchlings are housed in an aquarium-like environment until they are a bit bigger before being released: we call them “head start turtles.” The school also had a museum area with live and preserved species that Jordan helped catalog and maintain.

Even with all of his up close and personal experience with reptiles Jordan needed an internship to complete the requirements for his degree, and a few keystrokes later he found us. He says that the work at the hospital is very similar to what he had done at Bristol HS. “The main difference is that sea turtles have very distinct and very large personalities” especially his favorites, the loggerheads. And he does want to let anybody thinking about applying for our internship to know that they better be ready to work really hard, get really dirty and expect anything to happen. Jordan: “No matter what happens it’s all worthwhile.”

The museum area at Jordan’s HS was only open once a year for visitors, so he was pretty excited to find out that we are open five days a week, all summer. Jordan likes interacting with the public and feels that it’s a great way to actively demonstrate the importance and results of conservation efforts. Jordan: “The key is to get people to think and care about their actions before, rather than after.” He hopes that all of those people who got to see our turtles going home will become advocates for a better world. After leaving us, and college, Jordan plans to find work in environmental education, transferring the PR skills perfected at our hospital to a paying position. Meet Jordan, and our other eight other interns in person during our tour hours. We are open daily, EXCEPT Wednesdays and Sundays, from Noon – 4 PM.

Please continue to report any sea turtle sightings (nestings, strandings, injuries) to Terry Meyer @ 910-470-2880 or Jean Beasley @ 910-470-2800. We will also pick up on the hospital line (910-329-0222) if the call comes into us during general hospital hours. The state of NC also has a stranding hotline that picks up 24/7: 252-241-7367.