CARTERET COUNTY - Young visitors to the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores put on their lab coats as part of the "Sea Turtle Rescue" exhibit. It all starts when a sea turtle needs help.
You take a plastic sea turtle to the diagnosis station. A computer program gives you the symptoms of the turtle. You can "take its blood" with an enlarged needle. There are different scenarios for a distressed sea turtle from a shark bite to an infection.
Next, you treat your turtle with the proper "medication". While the turtle is resting, you can check in on the turtle hatchlings. You weight them, and you measure the dimensions of its shell.
This exhibit shows a behind-the-scenes look at how the aquarium helps these animals.
"I learned that sometimes turtles get sick and need immediate care," said Beverly Jacques, whose turtle had an infection. She "treated" her turtle with antibiotics.
After the turtle has recovered, you return it back to sea.
"It has a little bit more meaning when you get to actually figure out what's wrong with the turtle, diagnose it and treat it. We show the concept of they are not pets. We release them back to the sea where they belong," said Georgia Minnich, Exhibits Director.
The exhibit will be part of the aquarium for at least two years.