TOPSAIL ISLAND, NORTH CAROLINA
THE FIRST
   THREE

Huffy - released 7/97
Karen the turtle
Karen - released 9/97
Corey the turtle
Corey - released 6/98
Our first three patients arrived from Sea World of Florida in Orlando 
where they had all spent the winter with other sick and injured  SEA TURTLES. 
These three were found injured in North Carolina in 1996.   With  the opening of 
The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center
the only one of its kind in North Carolina, these turtles could be cared for and eventually returned to the ocean. 
Huffy was found here, off the coast of Topsail Island and was first to be released into the wild. Click on their pictures for more information.

HUFFY Loggerhead
(Caretta caretta)
juvenile:
Age:       6-9 years; 
Stranding Date mid August 1996 
Released 7/21/97
THE INJURY Huffy was found floating near the mouth of a small creek that empties into the Sound between Topsail Island, NC and the mainland.  She had been badly injured, apparently by a boat.  The carapace was so badly broken that chunks of shell flopped and banged together. After an injection of  antibiotics Huffy was wrapped in towels wet with salt water and monitored throughout the night. 
    Early the next morning Huffy was driven to the North Carolina State  College of Veterinary Medicine.  Under the care of Dr. Andy Stamper and his team Huffy underwent 8 hours of surgery, emerging as the "erector set" turtle, with surgical steel screws, wire and a plate.
    That night she returned to Topsail Island and was placed in a shallow water outdoor tank.
THE CARE:  Although unexpected she began to eat immediately.  The medicine and vitamins were administered hidden in fish morsels.  The wounds were cleaned every other day.

    Then as fate would have it Hurricane Fran announced her arrival in early September and Huffy and another sea turtle in our care (Lucky) needed to be evacuated.  As the damage to our island was extensive the sea turtles needed a new home.

    Ruth Boettcher, Sea Turtle Coordinator for the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission, stepped in to rescue the sea turtles.  Lucky was to be released (it was time) and Huffy was taken to the National Marine Fisheries Lab in Beaufort, NC.

    Huffy then required further surgery to remove dead pieces of carapace and yet another facility was needed to rehabilitate this sea turtle.  The water quality around Topsail Island had degraded as a result from hurricane damage. Sea World of Florida in Orlando agreed to take Huffy.

    After the surgery performed by Dr. Gary Spodnik, Dr. Greg Lewbart and Dr. Andy Stamper, arrangements were made for Huffy to catch a ride to Florida with the United States Coast Guard.  Commander Bob Morrison, Lt. Commander Pearson and their crew loaded Huffy into the huge C130 plane.  Off to Florida for the winter.

    Huffy was returned to Topsail Island June 17, 1997 with the opening of the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.  The transportation was courtesy of Sea World.  Huffy arrived home with friends, Karen (our namesake sea turtle) and Corey, whose stories appear on this page.  All of the plates, screws and wires were removed,  the wound remarkably healed.

THE PROGNOSIS: RELEASED 7/21/97
Huffy was transported out to sea courtesy of Vision Quest Diving owner Terry Kennedy and his crew.
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KAREN Loggerhead
(Caretta caretta)
juvenile:
Age: 7-9 years; 
WEIGHT 90lb;
 RELEASED 9/24/97

THE INJURY Karen was found injured in Brunswick County, NC near the CP&L  nuclear power plant in 1996.  Approximately  20% of her carapace was missing.  She was treated by the NC State Collage of Veterinary Medicine.
THE CARE:  At the time of injury there was not a winter facility for Sea Turtles, So Karen (at the time known as CP&L Turtle) along with Huffy and Corey,  spent the winter in Orlando, courtesy of Sea World. Karen's injury was healed when she entered the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and required  the daily attention of feeding, cleaning and back scratches.
THE PROGNOSIS:  RELEASED 9/24/97
 Karen was taken by truck to the southern end to Topsail Island where she was  lifted to the sand and made her dash to the sea.
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Karen Returns Home - September 24, 1997

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COREY  Loggerhead
(Caretta caretta)
juvenile:
Age:  6-9 years;  Weight:  90 lb.;
Gender:  Female   (determined by blood test)
                  RELEASED 6/10/98
THE INJURY Corey was incidentally captured in a pound net set off of Harkers Island in Core Sound, NC.  She sustained a 10 inch longitudinal fracture down the center of the carapace, directly above the spinal column, about 1" wide.  The wound was most likely caused by a boat propeller.

THE CARE:  The turtle was first held at the Pine Knoll Shores State Aquarium for initial examination and treatment for two weeks. After it was determined the animal required long-term care, arrangements were made to have the sea turtle transported to Sea World of Florida in Orlando for the winter.  The sea turtle was driven to Sea World by NC sea turtle volunteers on November 30, 1996.  While there, the sea turtle received extensive care until NC's coastal waters warmed back up the following spring.  On June 19, 1997 Sea World staff transported the sea turtle to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center where she has been diligently treated and cared for by all the Topsail volunteers up to the time of her release.
Initially at the KBSTRRC,  the wound was cleaned, covered with a triple antibiotic ointment, then covered with Tegaderm, and affixed with Super Glue once a week.  After many months in residence and further surgery,  the wound was healing and no longer required a dressing.
THE PROGNOSIS:  Released  June 10, 1998.
Corey was driven about a mile by truck to the southern end Topsail Beach and crawled a short distance to the surf, stopping often to mug for the cameras.  Once in the water, she surfaced several times,  looking back as if to say 'catch me if you can'.

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Glossary this page
CARAPACE: Shell
INCIDENTALLY CAPTURED: Means the turtle was captured in
     actively and legally fished commercial or recreational fishing gear.
     Turtles can also be incidentally captured in a dredge, power plant intake canal,
     or any other lawfully conducted human activity.