CURRITUCK Co., N.C. - Currituck may be known for their wild horses that roam free on the beaches of the Outer Banks, but there is another creature that has been seen creating life in this area: sea turtles.
In North Carolina, there are five different species of sea turtles but, you can find the Loggerhead, the Green and the Kemp’s Ridley in Currituck Outer Banks. Each of their nests hold an average of 75 to 150 eggs.
The Network for Endangered Sea Turtles, also known as N.E.S.T., is a local volunteer program that has been monitoring continuous activity of these little creatures in Currituck. N.E.S.T is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the care and protection of the habitat and migration of sea turtles and other marine animals.
The program has recently marked off four nests in Currituck. Two of these nests have hatched and made their way to shore. In their journey, eggs and stragglers are often found that need assistance. During this season’s second site excavation, two turtles were found and safely made their way to the ocean.
Once the nest site hatches, N.E.S.T monitors the egg count and gathers information to determine how successful the turtles nest was.
Karen Clark, Center Director for the Outer Banks Center of Wildlife Education and Scientific Advisor to the N.E.S.T program said, “Sea turtles give us really great life lessons. As hatchlings work their way to the surface, they really have to work with their brothers and sisters… you’ve got to work together to survive and sea turtles give us that example in the wild.”
Director Clark gave a list of ways that we can help keep these creatures protected:
- Always take beach chairs, toys and canopies home with you when you leave.
- Knock down sand castles and fill any sand holes at the end of the day.
- Be sure to pick up trash to prevent sea life injury.
- Use red-filtered light bulbs in your flashlights when walking on the beach at night in order to not distract a nesting sea turtle.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to immerse ourselves into this amazing habitat. We love the beach, the sea turtles need the beach, and it’s a shared resource. It’s a great opportunity to make sure the hatchlings are protected and they will have the opportunity to recover as a threatened species. Hopefully, we will be able see them in future generations," Clark said.
Click here to learn more about how you can help sea turtles in Currituck and the Outer Banks.