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Meet Turtle Rescue Team

Today we’d like to introduce you to Turtle Rescue Team.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Turtle Rescue Team was started in 1996 by our faculty advisor, Dr. Greg Lewbart, and a few veterinary students who were interested in wildlife medicine.

It started with just a few turtles per year that were treated in Dr. Lewbart’s lab at the CVM, and in the following years by word of mouth and especially with our emerging presence on social media, we expanded into a larger space in the hospital and began seeing hundreds of wild reptiles and amphibians each year.

Turtle Team has become an incredible extracurricular volunteer experience for veterinary students since it allows us to triage, treat, and manage our own cases while under the guidance of our school’s faculty. We have also been able to participate in some wonderful outreach projects to educate and encourage the care of wildlife in our community.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It is never easy providing veterinary care to wildlife, as our cases are often critical and there is very little literature available to guide us in many of the treatments they require.

We also run solely on donations, so all the housing, feeding, and treatment supplies we need come from our friends, finders, and online followers.

However, we have a strong team of faculty and students who are invested in the care of our patients, so we always find ways to innovate and collaborate to provide the highest standard of care to the wildlife we see here.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Turtle Rescue Team is run by a network of NC State veterinary students, faculty, interns, residents, and community volunteers.

Most of the vet students who lead TRT are planning to specialize in zoo and wildlife medicine in their careers, but students from any focus area are able to join and take cases.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
Raleigh is really the best place for us to be in North Carolina due to its richness in resources for veterinarians and its central location within the state.

We have people bring us injured turtles from all across the state, so it’s wonderful that we are right on a lot of people’s routes when they travel.

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