NewsNational News


300 watch as rehabilitated sea turtles crawl back to ocean in North Carolina

6 rehabilitated sea turtles released in Buxton
Posted at 1:22 PM, May 18, 2023

BUXTON, N.C — Three hundred people watched as six rehabilitated sea turtles were released into the water in Buxton on Tuesday morning.

Four green turtles, one Kemp's ridley turtle, and one loggerhead sea turtle crawled back into the ocean after recovering at the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center at the North Carolina Aquarium.

The loggerhead, a female named Miss Piggy, received a satellite transmitter before her release, according to the aquarium.

The aquarium says her track will be shared on the aquarium website if they are able to get a strong signal back.

The aquarium also took a DNA sample from Miss Piggy before release, and will be compared to DNA collected on nesting beaches stretching from North Carolina to Georgia to gauge if she nests successfully.

"We don't normally see adult turtles in the STAR Center," said STAR Center Manager Amber Hitt. "Rehabilitating and releasing a turtle that could potentially contribute to the population in the near future brings additional depth to this rewarding job."

The aquarium says the juvenile green and Kemp's ridley turtles received PIT tags, or small microchips, inserted into their flippers before release to identify them if they are encountered and scanned in the future.

The work of stranding response and rehabilitation requires dedication from both staff and volunteers, and the aquarium says the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T) is the Outer Banks volunteer group responsible for responding to reports of stranded turtles.

The group also transports patients and helps care for the rehabilitating turtles, along with provided sea turtle nest monitoring and protection for the beaches in Nags Head to the Virginia State Line.

"N.E.S.T volunteers work hard to protect and conserve sea turtles on the Outer Banks," N.E.S.T President Tony Parisi said. "In the winter, releases are often done from boats, so volunteers don't get the chance to attend. Having the opportunity to see six turtles released and have volunteers actively participate is very gratifying."

If you see a stranded or nesting turtle on the Outer Banks, contact N.E.S.T.’s hotline at (252) 441-8622. To learn more about their mission, visit them here.

EAT IT, VIRGINIA restaurant news and interviews