The Karen Beasely Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center Opens for Business at Its New Location

The Karen Beasely Sea TurtlSea Turtlese Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is getting settled in at its new $1.5 million facility located at 302 Tortuga Road in Surf City. The center was established in 1997 in its original location in Topsail Beach and reopened for business at the new facility in June 2014.

The Karen Beasely Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center's mission is protection and conservation of all species of marine turtles both in the water and on the beach. The center focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation and release of sick and injured sea turtles. This is a 100% volunteer-run sea turtle hospital, where the focus is on educating the public on the plight of the sea turtles and the threat of their extinction.

The Karen Beasely Sea Turtle Center is also an experiential learning site for students of biology, wildlife conservation, and veterinary medicine from around the world. Since its inception, the Karen Beasely Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center has successfully released over 400 turtles back into the wild, not including the thousands of hatchlings they have assisted along the way.

The center is also part of the Topsail Turtle Project, which protects and monitors sea turtle nesting on Topsail Island's beaches. Topsail Island has 26 miles of beaches. Each morning from May through August (sea turtle nesting season here on the Treasure Coast of North Carolina), each mile is surveyed to identify sea turtle tracks and nests. The Loggerhead Sea Turtle comes ashore to nest 3-5 times a year depositing on average 120 eggs per nest. Eggs incubate in the sand for about 60 days. The 2-ounce hatchlings then emerge from their eggs and race toward the sea. There are many obstacles on the path to maturity and only 1 in 1000 survive the first year. The surviving hatchlings reach adulthood in 20-30 years, and the females return to their natal beaches to begin the life cycle again.

Since the Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is fully staffed by volunteers, 100% of the donations go directly to the sea turtles and their treatment. The center offers educational tours to the public five days a week from noon to 4p.m., except on Sundays and Wednesdays. General admission is $5, Seniors & Military $4, Children $3.

During your Topsail Island beach vacation, be sure to leave time to visit this 2013 Reader's Choice Favorite for Best Tourist Attraction in the greater Topsail area. If you're interested in reading more about history of the Karen Beasely Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and its founders, click here. You can also find out more about them by visiting their Facebook page.

Sea TurtleWhat can you do to help save Topsail's sea turtles? There are a few things. Be sure to pick up any trash you see on the beach, especially balloons and plastics. They are deadly to sea turtles. Cover up any large holes on the beach that you encounter, as they can become obstacles for emerging hatchlings. During sea turtle nesting season, keep the lights off at night at your Topsail beach vacation rental so as not to distract the hatchlings and draw them toward the artificial lights. And most importantly, if you stumble upon a sea turtle nest with eggs, do not disturb the site. Contact the Karen Beasely Sea Turtle Center so they can mark it and keep a close eye on it.

If you've been the to the Sea Turtle Center during your Topsail Island vacation, tell us what you think. If you haven't, put it on your Topsail beach vacation itinerary and check out the new center. We promise you'll fall in love with its residents.

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