News

Second turtle stranding training session set for Friday

A cold stunned Kemps Ridley sea turtle found on Ocracoke in mid-January was transported to the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation Center at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island for rehabilitation. Photo: C. Leinbach

A cold stunned Kemps Ridley sea turtle found on Ocracoke in mid-January was transported to the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation Center at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island for rehabilitation. Photo: C. Leinbach

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The Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (NEST) will hold another training session at 11:30 a.m. Friday, February 1, in the Community Center for volunteers interested in helping patrol for and/or transport cold-stunned sea turtles that float to shore during the winter.

The stranding response training session is open to anyone interested in helping.

Several NEST volunteers on Ocracoke have found a few live and several dead sea turtles in the last several weeks.

Although sea turtles have migrated into the warm Gulf Stream, they may get sick, injured or stunned by cold water and float toward land all along the Outer Banks where NEST volunteers monitor them in the winter.

On days when the ocean water temperature is expected to dip below 50 degrees, the volunteers patrol the entire beach and sound side accesses to look for stunned turtles. They also may receive alerts from people boating.

When they find one, they determine whether it is dead or, if alive, transport it to Hatteras where it is relayed to the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.

After that, they fill out reports to send to Karen Clark, director of Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education N.C. Wildlife Resources.

“Now that we’ve had some experience, I’ve started to think of some ways that we might be able to simplify things for you and things we could do to maybe make responses easier,” Clark said in an email to Rita Thiel, one of the volunteers.

Established in 1995, NEST is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and conservation of sea turtles and other protected marine wildlife on the Outer Banks.