SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) -- For 16 years it’s been a sanctuary for our four-finned friends and now the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital is getting ready for its biggest release yet.
"We were told by one of the organizational representatives that it was a really nice thing that we wanted to do, but he hoped we realized that we would only get three or four turtles every five years or so. Well, we laugh about that now,” said Jean Beasley, director of the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital.
The current 900-square-foot facility on Topsail Island has nursed about 900 sea turtles back to health and released them into the sea, but early on Jean Beasley knew the Topsail Island facility would not be big enough.
"We outgrew it when it hadn't been open for three months,” said Beasley. “We were already crowded. Over the years we've had to expand to tents in the backyard, and yes, I must confess, we have even had turtles in bathrooms and bedrooms in other locations that we call the annexes."
As construction workers put the finishing touches on the new 13,000 square foot facility Beasley says the possibilities are endless for work that will now be possible thanks to a specialized turtle x-ray and wave pool.
"I think it's going to be so beneficial for them having been in tanks and they're somewhat limited in the exercise that they get,” said Beasley. “We want to jazz them up in that tank and make sure that they exercise those flippers, so that they're even more ready to go when we release them."