Sea turtles off the coast of North Carolina have a friend in the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T,) an all-volunteer army of sea turtle rescuers. There are seven species of sea turtle, and every one faces risk of extinction due to problems such as ocean pollution and refuse, beach erosion, real-estate development along shorelines, injury from boats, and climate change.
Sea Turtle Rescue
As an NHES Alliance Partner, N.E.S.T. receives major funding from NHES to provide vital support to sea turtles. This month, a team of NHES staff met with N.E.S.T volunteers in Kitty Hawk, NC, to observe their work first-hand. In cool weather months, volunteers patrol the shores of Pamlico Sound in search of cold-stunned turtles. Cold-stunned turtles are brought to the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center on Roanoke Island, where their body temperature, weight, and overall heath is restored. Injured and sick turtles receive therapy and if needed, surgery by a wildlife veterinarian. Recovered turtles are promptly returned to the wild.
Giving Sea Turtle Hatchling The Best Start
N.E.S.T also gives baby sea turtles the best possible chance of survival. From May to September, N.E.S.T. volunteers on ATVs patrol fifty miles of beach between South Nags Head and the Virginia border in search of sea turtle nests. Nests are marked with rope and a number. After about 60 days, N.E.S.T. volunteers begin guarding nests in the evening when most nest hatch. To assure as many hatchlings as possible make it to the ocean, the volunteers prevent predation by animals and limit light pollution. Hatchlings are programmed to head towards the light of the horizon, and can be confused by man-made lights
NHES is proud to partner with N.E.S.T, and is grateful to our supporters, who make this work possible.