In the early morning hours of Sunday, July 9, 2023, a nesting loggerhead sea turtle was struck by a vehicle. The turtle was transported to receive medical care, but the injuries were so severe that she was humanely euthanized. Responding volunteers were able to locate the nest that she successfully laid and provide protection to the incubating eggs.
The injured turtle was located by a law enforcement officer patrolling the 4-wheel-drive beaches in Currituck County. The N.E.S.T. hotline received the call about the turtle with crush injuries to the shell and volunteers responded to the scene. While the injured turtle began a delicate transport to the STAR Center at the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island, other N.E.S.T. volunteers discovered the freshly laid nest containing over 100 eggs.
This tragic event follows a near miss event on Thursday night, where the outer perimeter protecting a nest was run over by a vehicle. The nest cavity was safe, but N.E.S.T. reminds drivers to use caution on the 4×4 beach at night. Protected nests have perimeters marked with reflective tape. Nesting and hatching season continue through September. Please follow the posted speed limits, scan the beach carefully in front of your vehicle, and give wildlife space.
Sea turtles are protected by the Endangered Species Act and punishments for destruction of nests or sea turtles, upon conviction, include fines of not more than $25,000, up to six months imprisonment, or both. Anyone who has information about either event should contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Enforcement hotline at 844-397-8477.