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Gulf oil a concern as rehabbed turtles go back to wild

READ MORE: Gulf oil a concern as rehabbed turtles go back to wild
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TOPSAIL BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- You usually think of rain delays for baseball games. Today weather delayed some sea turtles making it into the ocean off Topsail Island. The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital released 15 turtles back into the wild this even at a time where an ongoing oil spill leaves an uncertain future for their kind.

Through thunder, lightning, and torrential rains Mother Nature was not enough to stop these rescued sea turtles from loading up and heading on their way back home.

"This is the special one because these are the turtles that have been waiting for the water to warm up," Sea Turtle Hospital founder Jean Beasley said. "Some of them have been ready to go for a while, and they're about to go through their tanks. They know they're ready to go. They're telling us that."

But the waters of the ocean are a more uncertain place than these turtles left it many months ago. The threat of a major oil spill is threatening the survival of their species in the Gulf of Mexico.

"A catastrophe like this can wipe out generations of a species, so it is very hard to recover from that," Beasley said.

The Sea Turtle Hospital is on stand-by to receive any turtles affected by the spill, but hasn't seen any yet.

"We hope that we have some turtles that need rehab, that's one of the problems right now, they're not making it," Beasley said. "The one's that are in it just are dying."

With efforts to stop the oil spill so uncertain, it's hard to say how safe their future is in the waters of the Atlantic.

"I do have those concerns, and I have those concerns because we, especially with it continuing to pump oil, we very likely, it used to be a no possibility, then a slim possibility. It gets more and more likely all the time that we will have some effects from that," Beasley said.

Though experts say it's highly unlikely oil from the spill will make it to our shores, if it doesl, releases like today's may have to be halted for some time.

The Sea Turtle Hospital has outgrown its current building in Topsail Beach since it was founded in 1996. The group broke ground on a new larger facility two weeks ago in Surf City, where they will be able to care for many more sick and injured sea turtles.

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