Local volunteers protect endangered species

30 sea turtle nests are along Emerald Isle beaches

POSTED: 5:47 PM Sep 04 2012
CARTERET COUNTY -

The chance of newly born sea turtles making it to the water is helped by volunteers from the Emerald Isle Sea Turtle Patrol.  Volunteer coordinator, Virgil Kill, has been aiding the tiny turtles for about four years.

"If they get out of the nest, we make sure they get to the ocean," said Kill.

The chances of a baby turtle making the trip to the deep blue is 1 in 1000 because of the threat of predators.  So once a nest with eggs is discovered, it is marked off by volunteers.  When it gets closer to hatch time, a trench is dug to make the journey for the newborns a little easier.

"When you locate a nest yourself, you feel like that's your nest, and you sit at it every night that you can until it hatches," said 6 year volunteer, Kevin Geraghty.

The female sea turtle can lay between 80-200 eggs in one nest.  After the nest hatches, volunteers gently excavate the nest to see if there are any turtles left behind.

"If they're out of the shells, we'll guide them along the trench and let them get into the ocean.   If we find unhatched eggs, we'll rebury them and let them come out on their own," said Kill.

Once out of the sand, the next stop is the Gulf Stream.