Fort Fisher What's New

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Staff at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher are caring for eleven sick and endangered sea turtles. The green sea turtles were injured in a mass cold-stunning event along the N.C. coast in early January.

Aquarium staff are providing the turtles with medical care, special diets and close monitoring. Initial rehabilitation plans estimate short recuperation times with releases into the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream when the turtles recover. 

As many as 600 sea turtles were rescued after becoming ill from prolonged exposure to cold water temperatures in near-shore waters of the Atlantic. The extraordinary number of rescued turtles is requiring extensive collaboration with wildlife organizations, rehabilitation facilities and aquariums in the state offering space and resources to care for the sick animals. 

“This type of critical situation could negatively impact the vulnerable sea turtle population,” said Aquarium Curator Julie Johnson. “While we’re not a sea turtle rescue facility, our staff has the expertise to assist in this type of crisis and help save these animals.” 

Sea turtles are reptiles and cannot control their own body temperatures. Cold-stunned turtles become lethargic, experience decreased circulation and heart rates, and may die. They are susceptible to respiratory illness, animal attacks, bacterial and fungal infections. Serious cuts and abrasions may occur if the animal is washed ashore.
The Aquarium receives no additional funding or staff to assist in the turtle care. Anyone interested in making a donation to assist in the care and rehabilitation of the sea turtles may contact (910) 772-0500. 
Anyone who finds a sick, injured or dead sea turtle should contact the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Sea Turtle Stranding Network at (252) 241-7367.
Additionally, the Aquarium plans to offer special, behind-the-scenes tours to learn more about the sea turtles during their recovery. A portion of the tour fees will benefit Aquarium conservation efforts.

Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Tours

$5 per person, Aquarium admission not included. Each tour is approximately 15 minutes. Space is limited.
Saturdays, Jan. 16, 23, 30 at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Sundays, Jan. 17, 24, 31 at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 18 at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.


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