MANTEO – Nine rehabilitated sea turtles were returned to the ocean Wednesday at Coquina Beach, a part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, in front of an audience of several hundred.
The five green sea turtles, three Kemp’s ridley and one loggerhead, were rehabilitated at the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation, or STAR, Center at the North Carolina aquarium on Roanoke Island. Of the nine turtles, eight had been treated for symptoms related to cold-stunning while the loggerhead was treated for injuries from a shark bite. All were approved for the release by the North Carolina Aquarium’s veterinary staff.
Aquarium staff and interns, the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles, or NEST, volunteers and the National Park Service worked together to release the turtles.
The STAR Center is dedicated to preserving and protecting sea turtle populations by treating sick and injured turtles recovered and transported to the facility by NEST and the National Park Service, according to a release from the aquarium.
The five species of sea turtles that call the waters of North Carolina home are endangered worldwide. If a sea turtle is stranded in the water or on land, help increase the odds of survival by calling NEST at 252-441-8622.
Other ways to help protect sea turtle populations is by filling holes and knocking down sandcastles at the beach. Sea turtle hatchlings can become trapped by these obstacles on their way from the nest to the surf.