Local leaders want loggerhead turtles to be a state animal

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Dune Bug, a 200lb loggerhead, being carried out to sea on July 19, 2017 (Photo: Allan Libby/Town of Surf City)

WILMINGTON, NC (StarNews) — Their buggy black eyes, wiggly flippers and fierce determination to reach the sea have charmed Cape Fear locals for generations. Now, the loggerhead turtle could soon become an official state symbol.

House Bill 169, sponsored by Rep. Frank Iler, R-Brunswick, and Rep. Carson Smith, R-Pender, would make loggerheads the official saltwater reptile of North Carolina. Filed on Monday, the bill has a ways to go before reaching the governor, but it’s already attracted a slew of co-sponsors, including Rep. Deb Butler, D-New Hanover.

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“I am supportive of this measure because I believe it draws attention to the fragility of the species and the great work of our coastal turtle rehab teams and the (Surf City) Karen Beasley Turtle Rescue and Rehab Center,” Butler wrote in a message Thursday. “The loggerhead turtle is a magnificent creature and will represent North Carolina well.”

Named for their large, log-resembling heads, loggerheads live around the globe but are the most abundant turtles in North Carolina waters, according to the bill. Mother turtles come ashore to bury their eggs, and the nests hatch in a “boil” in which baby turtles scurry to the ocean.

Read more here.