A surf fisherman casting near the Seymour Johnson--Ft. Fisher Recreation Area in Kure Beach, North Carolina, was hoping for bluefish or flounder. Unfortunately, his catch was a juvenile Kemp's ridley sea turtle — the world's most endangered sea turtle. The hook embedded deep in the turtle's throat and the valuable creature was rushed to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center on Topsail Island, NC.
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Jean Beasley, who operates the center named in honor of her daughter, immediately called Dr. Greg Lewbart, professor of aquatic animal medicine at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, and made arrangements to bring Seymour (named for the location of her capture) to the College's turtle clinic.
Dr. Lewbart, who had just returned from the Gulf Coast where he was rescuing Kemp's ridley sea turtles from the BP oil spill, alerted volunteer DVM students who staff the College's turtle clinic to prepare for the incoming patient.
Seymour's arrival provided a teaching moment as Dr. Lewbart led the students through a health check on the sea turtle, discussed aspects of Kemp's ridley anatomy, showed them how to draw blood for testing, and how to administer the anesthesia.
Once Seymour was sufficiently sedated, Dr. Lewbart began the delicate procedure to remove the hook. Four minutes later the hook was removed and within 15 minutes Seymour began to stir.
A little rest and Seymour was ready resume his exploration of North Carolina's coastline and, it is hoped, create more Kemp's ridley sea turtles.
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