Rescued Sea Turtle Taking Flight to the Lone Star State After Treatment at the South Carolina Aquarium

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Green sea turtle Eddie finds new home at Sea Life Aquarium in Grapevine, Texas.

Eddie, A Green Sea Turtle, Wearing a Custom Weight Vest

A threatened sea turtle found floating off the coast of South Carolina more than a year ago is getting a second chance at life. Eddie, a juvenile green sea turtle treated at the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program, can never be released back into the wild due to a buoyancy problem. Eddie is taking to the friendly skies and flying to a new home at the Sea Life Aquarium in Grapevine, Texas where s/he will live out the remainder of his/her life. Eddie is the first patient treated in the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue Program to travel commercially.

More about Eddie:
Eddie, a 20-pound juvenile green sea turtle was rescued in August 2012 by volunteer turtle patrollers from Edisto Island. The rescuers noticed that Eddie was floating and lethargic and jumped into action. Eddie tried to evade the rescuers but was unable to escape due to a buoyancy problem. Eddie was immediately transported to the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue Program. Staff gave supportive care to help with dehydration and declining blood work, care included antibiotics, fluids and vitamin injections. Treatment for the buoyancy issue included weight belts, weight vests, and weight plates to encourage the turtle to dive. A CT scan revealed the ultimate cause of the buoyancy issue; scar-tissue build-up along the old boat propeller wound pressing against the nerve Eddie uses to dive. Because of this, Eddie cannot hunt, and can never be returned to the wild.

Shortly after being deemed unreleasable, South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program Manager Kelly Thorvalson put out a call to fellow Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions to find Eddie a permanent home. Staff from Sea Life Aquarium in Grapevine, Texas responded to the call, offering Eddie a new home in a shallow water tank with other marine life. Eddie will take flight on Southwest Airlines the morning of May 13, 2013, with the airline generously donating seats for the turtle crate. Eddie will travel with staff from the Sea Life Aquarium to his/her new home will s/he will act as an ambassador for the sea turtle species.

You too can help threatened and endangered sea turtles. If you find a sick or injured sea turtle, contact the SCDNR sea turtle hotline at (800) 922-5431. You can also help care for sea turtles in recovery in the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue Program by going to and making a donation and by visiting the South Carolina Aquarium and booking a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sea Turtle Hospital.

To track the progress of current patients in recovery, visit our Sea Turtle Rescue Program blog at Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates from the hospital, including public sea turtle release details.

For all media inquiries, 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 133. 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 133 sea turtles and is currently treating 5 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 6 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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