September 18, 2018

Ocracoke Ponies Survive the Storm, as NPS Assesses Sea
Turtle Nests on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands


Despite ocean overwash and subsequent damage to portions of N.C. Highway 12 on northern Ocracoke Island, all 15 of Ocracoke’s wild horses made it through Hurricane Florence just fine, with no damage to the perimeter pony pen.

“They were able to be cared for almost continuously throughout the storm,” said David Hallac, Cape Hatteras National Seashore Superintendent. “We were fortunate that we were able to [tend to them], because the impacts were moderate on Ocracoke Island.”

National Park Service staff are currently assessing the more than 50 active turtle nests that were located within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore when Florence hit as well, and have reported that several nests have hatched since Florence left the area.

“We’ve had some nests that have hatched since the storm, including one nest on Ocracoke Island,” said Hallac. “On Ocracoke, we estimate that seven nests were lost, and we are still doing assessments for Hatteras Island.”

“We don’t know the exact number of nests that we lost at this time, but we do know that some nests have clearly made it through the storm,” he added.

There were 165 sea turtle nests recorded thus far in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and more than 100 had hatched before Florence affected the islands.

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