Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Sea Turtle Hospital

I visited the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center yesterday. There were about half a dozen turtles being introduced to the public. Among them were Lennie, the blind Kemp's ridley who is a permanent resident at the hospital because he is blind. A fisherman had struck him in the head and tossed him overboard--hence, the blindness. He was swimming in a tank alongside another, younger Kemp's, who had dislocated his shoulders in another fishing net. The interns said this was a common injury among these endangered little guys.

I learned today that the most common injuries of late are head injuries and body trauma caused by propellers and by impact with boats. There were a few banged up loggerheads whose shells were being put back together with stainless steel bands. When the turtles come to the surface of the water for air, they suffer these injuries.

There was a little loggerhead who had been cold stunned and was getting her strength back to be ready for release. She was happily chowing on some romaine lettuce to pass the time.

Our guide peppered her facts and figures with anecdotes that were heart-warming. There was the one about the family from New Jersey who rescued a sea turtle and drove it to Topsail Beach for care. When the turtle was fit for release, they drove down for the big moment. Then there's the one about the Coast Guard flying another turtle home to Florida for release. Seems if you need help, all you have to do is ask because, as the lady said, "If they can do it, they will do it. And they're happy to."

A regular visitor to the hospital, I knew enough to be early for the tour. I was among one of the first groups to hear the stories, and I had to move through hundreds of people to get back to the road to get to my car. Powerful stuff. And important.

Back at the ranch, the babies are incubating in the sand....




And this little tortoise was trying to cross the road at dusk. I helped him out.  I hope he doesn't have height issues!  I never saw one like this before.  He really did blend with the pavement--not a good idea!


7 comments:

ladyfi said...

Oh, what delightful shots. So glad that people are taking care of the turtles.

Sylvia K said...

Wonderful captures, Sandy, and a great post! I, too, am glad there are people looking out for the turtles! Hope you have a wonderful day!

Sylvia

Lin Floyd said...

what a blessing you are to mother nature's creatures. keep up the good work.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This looks like an Eastern Mud Turtle to me. I can only go by pictures in my Indiana book. You might look that up and see if it fits the description. What a fun find. I have never seen one of these even though it is supposed to be common around here. A fun day at the turtle rescue place.

Sue said...

one doesn't always think of all the ways in which everyday human economic activity negatively impacts on so many creatures...good to be reminded.

Fiducia said...

Good that people and society are considering such activities vital in coming times..human's actions have not just impacted nature, but inhabitants of this land too..that needs to change and we as responsible beings, need to take a stand, make the change...Sandy, what you are doing is worthy of appreciation...each one of us will try the best we can to change this scene..I like the way how they are being taken care of now...Nice pictures; especially the last one!

anemonen said...

So nice that someone take care of them. Thanks for visiting me on karingagafallan.blogspot.com. Have a nice day.