Fourth Sea Turtle Cleared for Release after Treatment at the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program

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Dennis, an Endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle, Joins Three Others for Release This Saturday

Breaking news out of the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program: Dennis, a juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, has just been cleared for release. Dennis will join one green sea turtle, Crosby, one Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, Parker, and one loggerhead sea turtle, Skully, for a return to the ocean at the Isle of Palms County Park at 10 a.m., this Saturday, September, 14, 2013.

The 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 public is invited to join the festivities and are encouraged to carpool, arrive early, and are reminded that parking fees apply at the county park.

More on the sea turtles being release:

Dennis, a nine-pound juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (the most endangered sea turtle species) was found cold-stunned near Cape Cod, Massachusetts in December of last year. Dennis, along with nine other sea turtles, was flown to the sunny south on a flight donated by Charleston based Davis Air, Inc., to help free up space at the New England Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program. Treatment for Dennis included plenty of food and laser therapy, which was used on his/her right front flipper elbow which was inflamed at the bone. The laser therapy helped reverse the inflammation and stimulated the turtle’s natural healing process. Dennis’ flipper is fully healed and ready to test the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Skully, a 70-pound juvenile loggerhead was found by canoers stranded on a sandbar in Skull Inlet near Fripp Island in June. When Skully was admitted to the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital, biologists discovered old wounds to his/her plastron which were inhabited by marine leeches; the turtle was also thin, lethargic, anemic, and dehydrated. The leeches were flushed out of the wound, and supportive care was administered. Skully is now back to optimal heath and is ready for a return to the open ocean.

Parker, a five-pound juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, was accidentally caught by a recreational fisherman at the Myrtle Beach Pier in June of this year. Upon admittance to the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital, Parker was emaciated, dehydrated and had poor blood work. Due to the location of the hook, the Aquarium’s staff veterinarian removed it without surgery. Treatment for Parker included injectable antibiotics and vitamins, as well as injectable solids and plenty of food to help him/her gain weight. Three months after admission, Parker is healthy, strong, and swimming around the holding pool preparing for his/her trek back to the sea.

Crosby, a nine-pound juvenile green sea turtle was found floating near Crosby’s Seafood on the Folly River in April of this year, the same night as the Aquarium’s annual Conservation Gala. Captain Gresh Megget of Absolute Reel Screamer Charters called SCDNR officials after noticing the little green sea turtle swimming erratically and covered in marine growth. During Crosby’s stay at the Sea Turtle Hospital, s/he received fluids and antibiotics, and minor carapace wounds were flushed and treated. In May, Crosby’s swimming improved and s/he began eating a diet of fish and fresh vegetables. Now strong and healthy, Crosby is ready to return to the sea turtle population off the East Coast.

More on the release:
Who: The South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program, The Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission, and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
What: Sea Turtle Release
When: Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 10 a.m.        
Where: Isle of Palms County Park, Isle of Palms, S.C.
Why: To return four healthy threatened and endangered sea turtles back into the ocean

How to Help:
You can help care for sea turtles in recovery at the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital by going to and making a donation. While online, you can also visit the Sea Turtle Hospital’s blog at to track the progress of patients currently being cared for at the hospital. You can also find out more about visiting the hospital as part of a behind-the-scenes tour during your next visit to the South Carolina Aquarium.

For all media inquiries or to R.S.V.P. to the release, please contact Kate Dittloff at (843) 579-8660 or kdittloff(at)scaquarium(dot)org.

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 129 sea turtles and is currently treating 10 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 Memberships are available by calling 843-577-FISH.

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Kate Dittloff
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