We loved our visit to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island during our vacation in Georgia last week. This facility houses an active sea turtle hospital, along with an educational center.
According to their website:
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center was created and is operated by the Jekyll Island Authority as a primary conservation program dedicated to increasing awareness through sea turtle education, rehabilitation, and research programs. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center empowers individuals to act locally, regionally, and globally to protect the environment.
Most, if not all, sea turtle species are on the Endangered List. This is the result of many factors:
- poaching and over-exploitation
- habitat destruction
- accidental capture in fishing gear
- boat strikes (many, many turtles are injured this way)
- climate change impact on turtle nesting sites
Some of the turtles in residence at the GSTC hospital are the unfortunate victims of boat strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. We saw several that had undergone fin (leg) amputation.
The turtle recuperating in this tub is named Kayleigh Kakes, after Kayleigh Mooney, a 15 year old girl who died in a tragic accident in August of this year. The turtle was named in honor of the donations made in her memory. Please take a moment to read this article about her. Rest in peace, Kayleigh.
Our visit was very informative – I call myself an animal advocate yet I learned so many new things – and while it saddened me a bit, I am also heartened to know that there is this great organization trying to manage the damage and provide care for the turtles who need assistance.