1 in 1,000

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There was a buzz of excitement in the air that morning. Volunteers from N.E.S.T. (nework for endangered sea turtles) had discovered a nest of Loggerhead sea turtle eggs. And judging from the actions of the workers, this was a Superbowl moment for them.

N.E.S.T. volunteers patrol 50 miles of North Carolina’s Outer Banks beaches each morning from spring to early fall looking for the markings of where a female sea turtle would have come ashore a laid her eggs the previous night, before returning to the sea. Normally when nests are located, they are marked and monitored in order to prevent disruption from humans, predators, and weather until the baby turtles emerge and make a run for the water. A simple matter of people doing what they can to ensure that each egg has a fair chance of survival.

My daughters had told me of a repeat of this same scenario from just two days  before. N.E.S.T. volunteers were in a frenzy as they told everyone they encountered on the beach that a sea turtle nest had been reported near one of South Nags Head’s piers (about 1 mile south of our vacation rental). Instead of marking and monitoring this particular nest, it was being relocated due to a massive beach nourishment project that was slated for the coming weeks. Eggs were being carefully removed, one by one, and being transported to similar but safer environment.


As the events were relayed to me, I thought it all sounded like pretty cool stuff. I didn’t know how many nests were cared for in a year’s time, but I have been seeing the ATV patrols early in the mornings for as long as I’ve been vacationing in the Outer Banks. I knew it had to be a huge deal for this team of volunteers. And it turns out that they care for only 10-20 nests per year.

So it was pretty surprising when another nest was discovered just two days later. Again, my daughters had run into excited volunteers early in the morning, excitedly relaying the news of their discovery to anyone and everyone they encountered on the beach and encouraging beachgoers to come watch the nest relocation process. Since this nest was only a couple hundred yards from our rental, I decided to walk down the beach to take a look.

I watched from a short distance. About eight volunteers, working with purpose. Some carefully digging and removing the eggs. Some brushing off the sand and delicately placing them in cartons and into a large cooler.  some talking to bystanders, encouraging us all to come closer, “Does anybody else want to come up closer to get pictures?”. And some just offering a little education, “Most nests will have around 100 eggs in them.”

This was pretty cool. I was glad I had walked down the beach to witness it. It was just neat to watch people working together with such a passion to preserve nature and a form of life, even if it wasn’t human life.

Human life. Yes, my thoughts went pretty quickly to the preservation of human life. And I couldn’t help wondering what would happen to me if I just pulled a Gerber multi-tool out of my pocket and approached the cooler and bashed in a couple of eggs? Well, that would be just be barbaric of course. But I did later learn the extent to which these eggs are protected by law:

  • All of these species are protected under the Endangered Species Act which makes it illegal to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, capture, or collect sea turtle eggs, hatchlings, adults, or any body parts. Violators can be prosecuted under Civil and Criminal laws and be assess heavy penalties (up to $25,000 fine and up to one year in jail.)

Yeah, if you bust up a sea turtle egg or destroy a nest, you’re in hot water. An that’s a good thing. But I couldn’t help thinking, “Why don’t we offer these same protections for unborn humans?” The same actions that would be barbaric and illegal for unborn sea turtles are legal and fiercely defended when it comes to unborn humans.

This simply can’t be justified, but still abortion remains legal.

Here’s the craziest part. Out of 1,000 Loggerhead sea turtle eggs, the number that will hatch and reach the age of reproductive maturity is………ONE. One out of a thousand. Do the math, 10 nests times 100 eggs equals a whole year of serious human effort and intervention in order to save one sea turtle.

And I’m not saying this is bad. I think it’s an admirable effort. But I am saying that American society is sick as long as we fail to go these same lengths to protect our unborn children who have no voice. 1 in a thousand. I can’t get past that.

We can pat ourselves on the back all we want for concerns about poverty, racism, gun control, refugees/immigrants and a variety of other issues. But until America becomes a nation that is willing to defend and protect human life to the same degree that it offers endangered species, we’re basically just full of crap in our efforts to make anything better. We’re just the sick getting sicker.

1 in 1,000. Geez.


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