Posted by admin | 09.01.2011 | Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital, Turtle Talk

Hurricanes and Hatchlings

Now that Hurricane Irene has passed, our area beaches are beginning to take stock of the storm’s  impact on the sea turtles and nests. We’re sure that many of you are curious about the turtle’s status, especially those 2011 campers who spent time observing the nests and working with the Topsail Beach Sea Turtle Patrol.

While details are still coming in, preliminary information indicates that North Carolina lost 50 nests, South Carolina 59, and Georgia 68. At least 10 nests were lost from Topsail Island, 7 on Bald Head, 5 on Masonboro, and thankfully only 1 on Kure Beach. However, it is still early to tell the full extent of the impact of Irene, especially regarding nests that may have been inundated during the higher spring tides.

In hospital news, the Karen Beasley Rescue and Rehabilitation Center did lose power, but all turtles and staff weathered the storm admirably. Four of the smaller turtles were evacuated in advance of the storm, but most rode out the hurricane at their temporary home. There even is a new resident – Canady – who came in shortly after the storm, the victim of several propeller strikes.

While the number of lost nests may seem daunting, we can take comfort in that it could have been (and was anticipated to be) much worse. And several hatchlings now have some really interesting stories to tell. Carolina Beach had one nest hatch during the hurricane (the hatchlings were kept and released on Monday), and over 100 turtles on Topsail were kept safe by hospital staff and then released a day after the storm had passed. So now hopefully there are several special, good luck turtles on their way to the sargassum.