Cold Stun Sea Turtles Return To Gulf Stream

Another group of 39 lucky sea turtles being cared for by the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center for cold stun sequelae were successfully released into the Gulf Stream on February 23, 2016.   The large influx of cold stun turtles starting in early January, has pushed the state of the art sea turtle rehabilitation facility to its limits, but  the around-the-clock care by a dedicated staff, careful attention to veterinary care is paying off.  The release of the most recent 39 turtles frees up much needed space for the approximately 90 turtles continuing to occupy the available rehabilitation tanks.

Beasley Addresses Boat     Jean Beasley addresses volunteers aboard the "Vonda Kay" as the ship departs for the Gulf Stream. Photo courtesy Ken Blevins/StarNews Media

Beasley Addresses Boat
Jean Beasley addresses volunteers aboard the “Vonda Kay” as the ship departs for the Gulf Stream. Photo courtesy Ken Blevins/StarNews Media

The 39 turtles released successfully passed their exit physical examinations conducted by Dr. Craig Harms.  Declared fit and ready for release, they were transferred in the early dawn hours by 20 volunteers onto a local charter boat, the “Vonda Kay” which immediately headed out to find the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. The turtles were each individually released to cheers and applause, as they swam off into warmer waters, ready to continue their life journeys in the sea.

     Releasing a young sea turtle over the side of the "Vonda Kay." Photo courtesy Ken Blevins/StarNews Media


Releasing a young sea turtle over the side of the “Vonda Kay.” Photo courtesy Ken Blevins/StarNews Media

The journey is far from over for the hardworking folks at the Rescue & Rehabilitation Center. Many turtles affected by the cold or other events continue to need expert care and rehabilitation before they can return to sea.  But every successful release is inspirational for the sea turtle rehabilitation teams of North Carolina.

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Jean Beasley (left) is interviewed by a TV reporter. Darth Vader, a young green sea turtle who was admitted this year for cold stun relaxes on a towel. Photo courtesy of Town of Surf City.