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Sea Turtles, Vet Students Come Out Their Shells

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Corey the turtle is getting a new chance at life thanks to volunteers and students who will repair his shell.
RALEIGH — They are majestic creatures gliding quietly beneath the ocean's surface. But as our waterways become more crowded with people, life for sea turtlesgets more dangerous. There's a place here in the Triangle where the gentle giants are getting the help they need.

It's the ultimate clash between machine and nature, a boat propeller and asea turtle. Their shells are shattered by the blades. But at NC State's Vet school, turtles like Kitty are repaired. Vets say it's a rare topleasure to work on these magnificent creatures.

"They're gentle. They're slow moving. They do have their own personalities," explains veterinarian Greg Lewbart. "They live a longtime. They're threatened. Their numbers are dwindling, and people aretrying to help them."

Corey is an 82 pound injured loggerhead sea turtle. She has a cut rightdown the middle of her shell, and volunteers say rubbing her or pattingher on the back of her shell is very soothing.

Volunteers like Jean Beasley are always ready to lend a comforting handto a sea turtle. Beasley heads up The Topsail Turtle Project, a groupwhich brings injured turtles from the coast to the vet school and nursesthem back to health.

"When you see there are turtles that are suffering injuries because weshare their world, you feel that you have to give something back," Beasleysays. They certainly deserve our consideration and our help."

The vet school donates it's time and resources to help the turtles. Inreturn, students get experience they can't get anywhere else.

Student Julie Roos has never worked on sea turtles before. She says it'swonderful and very exciting.

And thanks to the hard work of students and volunteers, the gentle animalswill soon be swimming home.

The Vet school treats about a dozen sea turtles like Kitty and Corey ayear. They are named for the areas where they were found, Kitty Hawkand Core Sound.