Holden Beach Turtle Patrol Trainees

posted: May 26, 2022, 8:33 AM

It is that time of the year when the trainees for the Turtle Watch Program start preparation for saving our endangered friends. They go through an introduction to the program with Pat Cusack, the head of the Holden Beach Turtle Watch Program. He holds the license with the state to make sure the team is following all the state guidelines.

The newbies go out to the beach to a simulated turtle nest. They are trained on identifying a nest and approximating where the eggs were laid. The real fun begins when they start to dig. Once they locate the eggs they take one, crack it open and save the shell to send to the Northern Recovery Unit for DNA testing. The DNA can tell us how many nests were laid by a specific turtle and on what beaches. (Go to www.seaturtle.org if you are interested in the research project.) The nest is documented with an orange grate and roped off to keep the eggs safe. On day 50 of incubation the trainees will then be coached on how to prepare the nest for the hatchlings to make their journey to the gulf stream.
**This conservation work for protected sea turtles on Holden Beach is authorized by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (ES Permit 22ST11).**

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