SURF CITY, PENDER COUNTY - A group of loggerhead turtles have been transferred to the new sea turtle hospital in Surf City.
Fifteen loggerheads were transported from the old facility to the new one Wednesday afternoon. It was a culmination of 18 years of dreaming for Jean Beasley, the director of the new sea turtle hospital.
"It's such an upgrade, such a wonderful providing of services that the turtles never had before" said Beasley.
Each turtle patient now have a bigger tank and a cleaner salt water system compared to what they had in the old facility, Beasley said. The hospital also features a radiology and surgery room, along with a laboratory, a brand new kitchen and stock room.
According to Beasley, the turtles brought in Wednesday will be treated and released back into the ocean in June.
In October, a 30-year-old female sea turtle with a clipped flipper was one of the first turtles to have surgery in the new hospital, said Beasley. The procedure saved her life.
Construction of the new hospital began in 2010 and cost about $2 million, officials said. All of the money were raised privately.
The new hospital will be a tourist site and is expected to be open to the public next summer.