SURF CITY, Pender County - A group of high endangered sea turtles go a helping hand in returning to the wild at Surf City beach on Wednesday.
The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center released 13 turtles on Wednesday - some of them Kemp's Ridley, the most endangered turtle species on the planet. Four were from the New England Aquarium in Boston and three more were from Sea Turtle Recovery in New Jersey.
"You should see them when we're back there in waiting," volunteer Lisa Rodriguez said. "It's like, it's not your turn yet and they're just flapping and going crazy. They're like, 'I know we're at the beach! Like, come on!'"
The warmer temperatures are what brought the turtles here for release, rehab center executive director Jean Beasley said.
Click below to see photos from the turtle release
"The water off Boston is 55 degrees - our water is 78," she said. "We welcome those turtles to North Carolina, to our warm balmy water! So it was great to have them here."
Some of the turtles didn't exactly make a beeline for the water when they were released. Fuzzy, a 200-pounder, had some trouble getting into the ocean initially.
"Well he had ... a missing back right flipper so whenever he was trying to get out he just kept tracking right," volunteer Jessie Jaramillo said. "And then once we got out there, Lisa was kind enough to make a wonderful observation about a sandbar so had to get him out past the sandbar and get him out past the breakers as well."
Officials at the center say it's a busy season, with three more releases scheduled for the weeks ahead.