Some sea turtles come to the aquarium for a brief period of time because they are ill or injured. When they are healthy, we release them back into the wild.
Sometimes we care for turtles that have been found ill or injured on the beach. These turtles go to a special sea turtle hospital.
The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island recently opened a new Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center. This is a 3,000 square-foot facility, which provides space for volunteers and staff to care for sick and injured sea turtles while exploring new techniques that support our knowledge of sea turtle health, anatomy and physiology. Working side-by-side with the Aquarium’s partner, the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T.), the Aquarium plans to offer visitors an up-close experience with sea turtles.
Bringing up Babies
The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher rears two loggerhead sea turtle babies each year to serve as “sea turtle ambassadors”. These ambassadors are hatchlings that would not have survived without help. When they get to be a year old, we release them back into the wild.
Releasing Healed Turtles
When turtles are all better, the hospital staff and volunteers get to release them back into the wild. This is a very exciting event for everyone. To make sure the turtle does well after release, the hospital staff will often attach a tracking device to the turtle’s shell.