CONSERVATION: GSTC Wildlife Transport
By Jamie Gamby, GSTC Rehabilitation Technician 1
Allison Hardman, Rehabilitation Technician 1
Have you been driving down the causeway at high tide lately? Well if so, you have probably seen our newly wrapped Georgia Sea Turtle Center vans out and about. During the summertime, the Husbandry Department is extremely busy patrolling the causeway in search of female diamondback terrapins (DBTs) crossing the road to nest, traveling to pick up new sea turtle patients, and hitting the beach to release patients back to the wild.
In November, we were lucky enough to receive a new, larger van through the Jekyll Island Foundation’s generosity. This van is extremely beneficial because the larger size makes us able to transport more animals at once and we are also able to have climate control in the back, making the animal's ride less stressful. Now that we have two vans available we are able to respond to multiple situations at once without as many delays while trying to figure transportation. Our DBT AmeriCorp Member may be out on the causeway saving terrapin lives, while some of the team is either picking up a new patient or releasing one back to the wild.
Both vans were also recently wrapped in beautiful images designed by JIA’s Marketing team and they reflect our mission of rehabilitation, research, and education. The older van received a marsh scene with a DBT hatchling, which is extremely fitting since that is the vehicle used in the summer to patrol the causeway for terrapins. There also have been multiple studies conducted here at the GSTC on terrapins. In addition, each year we keep 20 DBT hatchlings and place them on exhibit to help raise awareness about the species, their threats, and how everyone can assist in their conservation. Then our newer van has an iconic image of Bell, our hatchling loggerhead sea turtle from last year who was also an adoptable patient. Since this vehicle is mostly used for transporting sea turtles, this wrap greatly reflects all of our hard work in rescue, rehab, and release.
Whatever the situation may be, when we are on the road you can’t miss us coming with the new brightly colored wraps! Please stop by the center and check out our newly wrapped vans.