A Second Chance for Three Juvenile Sea Turtles Treated at the South Carolina Aquarium!

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A Loggerhead and Two Kemp’s Ridleys Ready to Swim Out to Sea

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Join the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program in releasing three sea turtles back into the wild. Dewees, Murray, and Hook will return to the ocean tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at Beachwalker County Park on Kiawah Island. This release is being held in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission (CCPRC). The event is open to the public; attendees should plan to carpool, arrive early, and expect to pay for parking at the County Park.

More about the turtles being released:
Dewees: Dewees is a 90-pound juvenile loggerhead sea turtle. S/he was found floating in Dewees inlet in April of this year. When brought into the hospital by SCDNR, Dewees was floating and extremely debilitated suffering from emaciation, dehydration and severe anemia. Treatment included antibiotics, fluids, vitamin injections, barnacle removal and a healthy diet for weight gain. In just six-months Dewees has made a full recovery, ready to join the sea turtle population in the open ocean once again.

Hook and Murray: Hook and Murray, two juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were brought in from different areas on different days but with the same injury. Both turtles were accidentally caught by recreational fishermen and swallowed the hook. Hook was caught from the shores of Myrtle Beach State Park, while Murray was caught on Edisto Island. In both cases, the hook was removed by staff veterinarian, Dr. Shane Boylan, who was able to do so with the turtles lightly anesthetized. It took only a few short months for both to make a full recovery and both are ready to return to the Atlantic Ocean once again.

Turtle Release Details:

  •     Three patients being released
  •     September 19, 2012
  •     4:30 p.m.
  •     Beachwalker County Park, Kiawah Island, SC
  •     Arrive early to get parking and avoid lines (parking fees apply)
  •     Visitors are encouraged to carpool!

It costs approximately $36 per day to treat each sea turtle in the hospital, which amounts to a program budget of close to $321,000 each year. The Sea Turtle Rescue Program is part of the South Carolina Aquarium, a 501(c)3 non-profit that relies on the support of the community to treat and rehabilitate these endangered species. You can help support the program by making a donation and by visiting the Sea Turtle Hospital on a behind-the-scenes tour. Just go to http://www.scaquarium.org for more information. With your support, staff can continue to rehabilitate sick and injured sea turtles found along our coast.

If you find a sick or injured sea turtle, contact the local police department or the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources hotline at (800) 922-5431.

For all media inquiries, please contact Kate Dittloff at (843) 579-8660 or kdittloff(at)scaquarium(dot)org. Any media planning to attend the event must R.S.V.P by noon September 19, 2012.

About the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program:
In partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program works to rescue, rehabilitate and release sea turtles that strand along the South Carolina coast. Located in the Aquarium, the Sea Turtle Hospital admits 20 to 30 sea turtles each year. Many of these animals are in critical condition and some are too sick to save.

According to SCDNR, over the last 10 years the average number of sea turtle standings on South Carolina beaches each year is 130. Of these, roughly 10% are alive and successfully transported to the Sea Turtle Hospital. To date, the South Carolina Aquarium has successfully rehabilitated and released 94 sea turtles and is currently treating 8 patients. The average cost for each patient’s treatment is $36 a day with the average length of stay reaching nine months.

About the South Carolina Aquarium:
The South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston’s most visited attraction, features thousands of amazing aquatic animals from river otters and sharks to loggerhead turtles in more than 60 exhibits representing the rich biodiversity of South Carolina from the mountains to the sea. Dedicated to promoting education and conservation, the Aquarium also presents fabulous views of Charleston harbor and interactive exhibits and programs for visitors of all ages.

The South Carolina Aquarium, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and is open Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Aquarium is closed Thanksgiving Day, half day Dec. 24 (open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Dec. 25. Admission prices are: Toddler’s (3 and under) free; Youth (4-12) $14.95; Adults (13+) $24.95. The Aquarium plus the 4-D Theater experience is free for Toddler’s, $19.95 for Children, $29.95 for Adults. The 4-D Theater experience only is $6.95 for Children and adults, and free for Members. For more information call 843-720-1990 or visit scaquarium.org. Memberships are available by calling 843-577-FISH.

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Kate Dittloff
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