Old Bra Clasps Help Turtles in Need at This Wildlife Rescue (Exclusive)

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Jul. 5 2021, Published 3:26 p.m. ET

Bra hooks and eyes can do a lot more than, well, keep your bra in place — they can actually help injured wildlife. In fact, some wildlife rehabilitation facilities use bra clasps to help mend broken turtle shells.

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To learn more about how this interesting process works, Green Matters spoke with Tracy Belle, founder and director of Iowa-based Wildthunder Wildlife & Animal Rehabilitation & Sanctuary (Wildthunder W.A.R.S)., a state and federally licensed wildlife rehab facility that has been rescuing animals for 25 years.

Bra hooks can rehabilitate broken turtle shells.

In June 2019, Wildthunder W.A.R.S. shared a post on Facebook asking followers to donate bra clasps from bras they no longer needed. “To all our bra wearing friends!” the original Facebook post read. “When you discard one you no longer want please remove the eye closures from the fasteners for us! We use them to mend our turtle shells!”

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“That was a post that I did two years ago to include all of our bra-wearing friends. We have a large LGBTQ community,” Belle tells Green Matters over the phone in July 2021. “I honestly thought that it was going to get a couple of likes, but it went viral, it went worldwide … we have bra hooks coming from all over the world. We still get them from all over the United States.”

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When Wildthunder W.A.R.S. rescues a turtle with a cracked shell, the staff uses epoxy glue to attach the eye portions of bra clasps around the crack, and then feed zip ties through the eyes. This helps to “pull the crack in the turtle shell together to help it heal,” Wildthunder W.A.R.S. explained on Facebook in 2019, as per Smithsonian Magazine. Then, once the shell is healed, the rehabilitators remove the bra clasps and zip ties before returning the turtles to the wild, the magazine added.

While some rescues use the hook portions of bra clasps and string for this purpose, Wildthunder W.A.R.S. prefers to use the eye portions along with zip ties, Belle explains.

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How to donate bra hooks to turtles:

When we asked Belle if Wildthunder W.A.R.S. is still in need of bra hook donations, she was quick to respond with a resounding no. “No, no, no, not anymore,” Belle says. “We don't want people wasting their time ... it's a very sweet thing that people are doing. We honestly do not need any more bra clasps.”

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“We do still take in turtles and fix them,” she adds. “We are using those bra clasps [that people sent us], we just do not need any more.” 

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That said, there are still ways to support the organization’s turtle rescue efforts without unhooking your brassiere. “We are now telling people to share our cause,” Belle tells us. Instead, “if you want to send them, send us that $2 check you would have put into the postage.”

If you do have bras you no longer need, consider calling local wildlife rescue groups that rehabilitate turtles to see if they are in need of donations. There are also many organizations and companies that accept old bra donations, which are then either given to people in need or recycled into new fibers. 

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