|Beach Access and Park Issues
| November 4, 2009
Volunteers needed to help stranded sea turtles this winter
Cape Hatteras National Seashore is offering two volunteer training
sessions for the Sea Turtle Stranding volunteer program’s
fall/winter sea turtle season.
Under the direction of Sea Turtle Biological Technician Michelle
Bogardus, the goal of the Sea Turtle Volunteer in the Park (VIP)
program is to respond to “cold-stunned” stranded sea
turtles along the ocean and soundside beaches of the seashore and
Volunteers are needed and will be trained to assist NPS biologists in
surveying for live and dead sea turtle strandings, documentation of
stranding activity, transportation and triage of live strandings, and
educating the general public about sea turtle conservation
Two training sessions will be offered. The first will be on
Saturday, Nov. 7, and the second will be on Tuesday, Nov. 10.
Both training sessions will be at 10 a.m. at the Principal Keepers
Quarters behind the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Visitors Center in
If individuals are interested in volunteering for this program, but are
unable to make the training dates, please call 252-216-6892.
The five species of sea turtles that inhabit the ocean and soundside
waters of northeastern North Carolina -- loggerhead, green,
leatherback, Kemp’s Ridley and hawksbill -- are cold-blooded
reptiles that depend on external sources of heat to determine their
body temperature. Therefore, in cold water they do not have the
ability to warm themselves and must migrate to warmer waters.
If they do not migrate on time, or if they have additional
complications that make it difficult for them to leave, they often
become “cold stunned.”
Last winter, park staff and volunteers responded to more than 100
cold-stunned turtles and, if they are found in time, it is possible to
rehabilitate the animals. Last year, 36 turtles were found alive
and eventually returned to the ocean.
All five of the sea turtle species found in adjacent waters to Cape
Hatteras National Seashore are federally listed as either threatened or
endangered. Volunteers may also be involved with marine mammal
strandings and seal response, which typically occur during the winter
Weekly visitors are welcome to observe training classes, but interested
VIPs are asked to commit to a minimum number of hours and may be asked
to be “on call.”
If Outer Banks residents or visitors observe a sea turtle (dead or
alive), please report it. From Nags Head north to the Virginia
line, please call NEST at 252-441-1850. From South Nags Head to
Ocracoke, please call the seashore at 252-216-6892.