Surf City’s sea turtle hospital treats patients, gears up for release season

Updated: May. 29, 2019 at 4:28 PM EDT
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PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - At the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, Dr. Craig Harms is making the rounds before his patients get discharged from the hospital.

“We’re doing a wellness check to prepare for the season,” said Harms. “We’ll microchip the younger ones, much like a dog or cat and who knows, maybe in 20 or 30 years, those females will come back to nest."

It’s a teachable moment for about a dozen N.C. State students who are studying to be the vets of tomorrow.

“This has been a fascinating day all around,” said Jeffrey Tyrrell, who’s a fourth year student. “I want to one day work in a zoo or aquarium and this has been invaluable."

More than three dozen sea turtles are getting check-ups to see if they can answer that call of the wild.

The hospital volunteers and students helping to document what’s wrong, what’s right, and more importantly who’s who.

Each turtle is tagged so it can be identified for future study.

“We’re excited for the season,” said Jean Beasley, the center’s director. “We can’t predict the future. Once they’re back out in the ocean, they may not make it past the first wave, but we did out part; we gave these turtles a second chance.”

All of the turtles are here being treated for sickness or injury and some will stay behind as their rehabilitation continues, but for those which get discharge papers, the final plans are being made for a release time and date back in the ocean, off the coast of Surf City.

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