Residing in the Sand Castle exhibit in the Main Gallery is Cedar, the newest rescue hatchling here at Mystic Aquarium as part of the Sea Turtle Awareness Program. Cedar came to us on October 19 and will be cared for by staff at Mystic Aquarium for about one year as part of North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shore’s program. Once strong enough, Cedar will be released into North Carolina waters to rejoin the sea turtle population.
The sea turtle, one of Earth’s most ancient creatures, has been around for 110 million years; yet their future is uncertain. Sadly, an estimated 1 in 1,000 baby sea turtles will make it to adulthood.
As part of the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shore’s Sea Turtle Awareness Program, Mystic Aquarium is approved by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to raise loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings. The Sea Turtle Awareness Program allows this endangered species a better chance of survival.
Loggerhead hatchlings quickly emerge from the nest, found on ocean beaches, to the surf. Unfortunately, loss or degradation of nesting habitat, beachfront development, artificial lighting and non-native vegetation are among the serious threats affecting nesting females and hatchlings.
Mystic Aquarium ardently supports sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation and currently partners with the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shore’s program, where rescued hatchlings are raised in a facility, generally for one year, to help promote the conservation of the species and community education.
As a partner in this program, Mystic Aquarium exhibits the hatching as an ambassador to its species, teaching guests about the animal, its plight, and how we can help save the endangered species.
Cedar is the 15th loggerhead to have come through this program at Mystic Aquarium.
There are seven species of sea turtles in the world, all of which are either threatened or endangered. Mystic Aquarium is proud to be an integral part of rescue efforts aimed at helping increase the natural population of this species through the Sea Turtle Awareness Program and the stories of our own resident ambassador sea turtles.