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'It's been incredible' | Rescue overwhelmed by bra donations for turtles

"We’ve gone to the post office every day and come back with a boat ton of boxes and boxes and boxes," said animal rehabilitator Bayleigh Machaffie.

INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. — An animal rescue in Indian Trail now has more than enough bras to help repair turtle shells thanks to a Facebook request that went viral. 

Carolina Waterfowl Rescue made the post on June 27. The staff got the idea from a sanctuary in Iowa

"If you're discarding a bra, you can cut the clasps off and send them to us. We use them for turtle shell repair," the rescue said. "We need both sides."

Thanks to wild thunder wildlife rehab for this great idea!! If you're discarding a bra you can cut the clasps off and send them to us we use them for turtle shell repair. WE NEED BOTH SIDES....

In less than a week, the post garnered more than 11,000 shares and 1,800 likes. So many bras were coming in, they had to put some in storage. 

"Right now, we probably have enough to last us a year or two, depending on how many turtles we get," said animal rehabilitator Bayleigh Machaffie.

Donations for the turtles as well as other animals have poured into the non-profit since the call for bras went out.

"Absolutely, it’s skyrocketed; it’s ridiculous," said animal rehabilitator Keenan Freitas.

"We’ve gone to the post office every day and come back with a boat ton of boxes and boxes and boxes. Definitely a lot, an overwhelming response, which has been awesome," Machaffie said.

The clasps are items on the rescue's Amazon Wish List, but no one ever bought them before. 

"Sometimes when we’re able to throw something out there that’s different, people take advantage of that, and they see that, and they’re like I wanna do that," said Machaffie.

“It’s these weird things that we post sometimes that end up going viral," she added. "People find it amusing but also rewarding."

So how exactly does a bra clasp help mend a turtle's broken shell?

"Basically, we’ll glue the eyelets on each side of the fracture, and when it hardens after 24 hours, we wire the shell, kind of like you would braces," Freitas said.

Even though they have plenty of clasps for the time being, there are plenty of other ways to help the rescue.

"At this point, we’re asking if people want to donate $3 or $5 for the shipping charge they would have spent for the clasps so we can buy things like medicine and food for the turtles," said Machaffie.

"Easy money. That’s like a coffee. You could help a turtle or have a coffee. It’s simple," said Freitas.

They'll also take part of your time.

“You can volunteer with us, here in the clinic or here on site. We do a lot of transport volunteers we host orientation for. Those people go out to where the injured animal is, pick it up, and transport it to our clinic so we can treat them," Freitas said.

The staff is thrilled their turtles are getting so much attention.

"Turtles, I feel, aren’t as talked about in the rehab world," said Machaffie. "It’s one of those things that doesn’t get the money in as much as birds of prey, the shorebirds, the sea birds."

They're even developing a sponsorship program so people can keep up with the turtles' progress.

"It’s exciting when you get to that point where people get engaged and get involved," Machaffie said.


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