Aquarium offers Sea Turtle Care and Tours

By / Life on the Island / Wednesday, 20 January 2016 05:00

Kure Beach, N.C. — Staff at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher are caring for eleven sick and endangered sea turtles. The green sea turtles were injured in a mass cold-stunning event along the N.C. coast last week.
Aquarium staff are providing the turtles with medical care, special diets and close monitoring. Initial rehabilitation plans estimate short recuperation times with releases into the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream when the turtles recover.
As many as 600 sea turtles were rescued after becoming ill from prolonged exposure to cold water temperatures in near-shore waters of the Atlantic. The extraordinary number of rescued turtles is requiring extensive collaboration with wildlife organizations, rehabilitation facilities and aquariums in the state offering space and resources to care for the sick animals.
“This type of critical situation could negatively impact the vulnerable sea turtle population,” said Aquarium Curator Julie Johnson. “While we’re not a sea turtle rescue facility, our staff has the expertise to assist in this type of crisis and help save these animals.”
Sea turtles are reptiles and cannot control their own body temperatures. Cold-stunned turtles become lethargic, experience decreased circulation and heart rates, and may die. They are susceptible to respiratory illness, animal attacks, bacterial and fungal infections. Serious cuts and abrasions may occur if the animal is washed ashore. The Aquarium receives no additional funding or staff to assist in the turtle care. Anyone interested in making a donation to assist in the care and rehabilitation of the sea turtles may contact (910) 772-0500 or visit
Anyone who finds a sick, injured or dead sea turtle should contact the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Sea Turtle Stranding Network at (252) 241-7367.
Additionally, the Aquarium plans to offer special, behind-the-scenes tours to learn more about the sea turtles during their recovery. A portion of the tour fees will benefit Aquarium conservation efforts.
Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Tours
$5 per person, Aquarium admission not included. Each tour is approximately 15 minutes. Space is limited.
Saturdays, Jan. 16, 23, 30 at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Sundays, Jan. 17, 24, 31 at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 18 at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.
About the Aquarium The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher is located south of Kure Beach, a short drive south from Wilmington, on U.S. 421. The site is less than a mile from the Fort Fisher ferry terminal. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission: $10.95 ages 13-61; $9.95 62+ and military; $8.95 ages 3-12. Taxes not included. Free admission for: children 2 and younger, registered groups of N.C. school children and N.C. Aquarium Society members. The Aquarium is one of three state aquariums in North Carolina administered by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR). General information: - The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher is one of only 230 accredited members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a non-profit organization dedicated to the highest standards in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science and recreation. In addition, the Aquarium is an AZA partner in SAFE: Saving Animals from Extinction. More on AZA:
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.
NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit


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