No one expects to see turtles in the public drain! However, even fewer would know what to do in that situation. Thankfully, volunteers helped these little animals after a severe storm blew them into the drain!
Saved Hundreds Of Turtles
It all started in the cities of Margate, Ventnor, and Ocean City, all in the Jersey Shore region. As the Stockton University volunteers explained, the turtles hid in the drains to survive the cold temperatures. “These spring emergers that survived for months off of their yolk sacs were scooped out of storm drains in Ocean City, N.J. by Marlene Galdi and Joanne Freas and in Ventnor and Margate by alumna Evelyn Kidd and friends,” the University wrote in a Facebook post.
How did these incredible volunteers save the turtles? Well, as it turns out, they had kept an eye on these little turtles for some time. “When a baby terrapin successfully crawls across the street, they can meet yet another obstacle – the curb. Marlene and Joanne regularly look for crossing terrapins to give them a hand,” the University’s announcement continued. However, this year, the turtles faced a much more significant challenge than simple curbs!
One day, as Marlene Galdi walked home, she noticed her turtle friends in some serious trouble! “As we passed the storm drains, we noticed that there was activity in them. When we looked closer, we saw that there were baby terrapins swimming in the storm drains,” she explained.
Galdi and Freas realized they need to work quickly. They immediately called their friends and started to work to save the turtles. In just a few hours, they had managed to save 826 baby turtles from the drain. That’s right! Soon after, they called Stockton University, not knowing what to do with all the creatures!
Calm After The Storm
Thankfully, Stockton University had a program in place. The University has a program called “Head Start,” which helps found animals rehabilitate to the wild. So far, the “HeadStart” program has already saved just over 1,100 animals. So these tiny turtles will double the program’s numbers!
However, the University has made it clear that these turtles face an uphill battle. “A good percentage of the terrapins that do come from storm drains have eye infections. They haven’t been in the cleanest water because everything runs into the storm drains,” explained John Rokita, one of the supervisors who will look after the turtles. Thankfully, the University says they have a much better chance now that they reside in Stockton University’s Vivarium.
Meanwhile, the University expects more animals to join the HeadStart Program soon, due to storms. “In the coming weeks, more terrapins will be arriving from a conservation partnership with The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor that extracts and incubates eggs from road killed females,” the University wrote. We wish these turtles the best of luck! Hopefully they can return to their ocean home soon enough!