Join the South Carolina Aquarium for One of the Last Sea Turtle Releases of the Year

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Bid Farewell to Three Different Species Rehabilitated at the Sea Turtle Hospital

STH

A rare opportunity to bid farewell to three different species of sea turtles making their way back to the Atlantic Ocean is happening Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 4 p.m., Isle of Palms County Park. The four sea turtles, a green, a Kemp’s ridley and two loggerheads, are returning to the ocean after successful rehabilitation by the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program. All four were brought to the hospital after being found sick or injured in the wild, including one loggerhead found with plastics in its digestive system. The release is being held in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and the Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission (CCPRC). Attendees should plan to carpool, arrive early, and expect to pay for parking at the county park. This release marks 176 threatened and endangered sea turtles rehabilitated and released into the wild by the Sea Turtle Rescue Program.

More on the turtles released:

Midway and Pawley:
These two juvenile loggerhead sea turtles were both found stranded on Pawleys Island, S.C., the morning of June 8, 2015. Midway, found stranded on a sandbar, was weak, covered with marine leeches and in clear need of medical treatment. Once admitted to the Sea Turtle Hospital, Midway received vitamins, antibiotics, fluids and supportive care. After three days of care, Midway also began passing large amounts of plastic, including plastic bag and balloon pieces, which likely contributed to his/her debilitated status.

Pawley, the second smallest loggerhead ever admitted to the Sea Turtle Hospital, was found with old boat strike wounds on the back of his/her shell. It is believed that Pawley’s debilitated condition was ultimately the result of the boat strike, as the wounds would have resulted in severe pain and made it extremely hard for the animal to feed normally. Upon admission, supportive care including pain medication, fluids and antibiotics, were administered. After three months, Pawley’s injuries are completely healed and s/he is ready to return to the open ocean with Midway.

Barnacle Bob:
Barnacle Bob, a juvenile green sea turtle, underwent one of the most astounding turnarounds team members have ever seen. Bob was rescued at Ocean Watersports in Myrtle Beach after employees noticed Bob getting tossed around in the surf. Bob was severely emaciated, covered in barnacles and in need of immediate medical attention. Bob was one of the most emaciated turtles ever admitted to the Sea Turtle Hospital. Aggressive fluid therapy began immediately along with antibiotics, parenteral nutrition, and supportive care. For four months this little turtle received world-class care, ultimately bringing him/her back to full health.

Little Laddy:
Little Laddy, a juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, the most endangered of the seven sea turtle species, was accidentally hooked by a fisherman on Morris Island. Laddy swallowed the hook and was brought to the Sea Turtle Hospital so the hook could be safely removed. The Aquarium’s veterinarian performed surgery successfully removing the massive hook situated dangerously close to Laddy’s trachea. Laddy has made a full recovery and is ready to swim the Atlantic Ocean once again.

Help is needed:
As patients like these turtles receive treatment and are released, it is important now more than ever to execute the planned expansion of the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital. The state-of-the-art facility will significantly increase the capacity to rehabilitate threatened and endangered sea turtles. The new facility will be equipped with triage units, a private intensive care unit, deeper tanks, an exercise pool, cutting edge medical equipment, and additional laboratory and life-support space. Approximately 16,000 guests currently tour the hospital annually, the expansion of the hospital onto the Aquarium’s first floor will expose all 430,000 annual guests to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of these threatened and endangered sea turtles. As a nonprofit, the Aquarium is looking to the community to support the construction of this hospital. To help us expand the Sea Turtle Hospital, click here.

What can you do?
You can help protect threatened and endangered sea turtles. If you find a sick or injured sea turtle, contact the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) sea turtle hotline at (800) 922-5431. You may also help care for sea turtles in recovery in the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program by making a donation at scaquarium.org.
To read about our patients or track their recovery progress, visit our Sea Turtle Rescue Program blog at scaquarium.org. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates from the hospital, including public sea turtle release details.

Fast Facts:

  • Four sea turtles, representing three different species, are being released by the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program
  • Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015 at 4 p.m., Isle of Palms County park
  • Arrive early and plan to carpool
  • The release of these four turtles brings the total number of sea turtles released by the Aquarium to 176
  • To support the expansion of the Sea Turtle Hospital, click here

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 130. Of these, roughly 10 percent are alive and successfully transported to the Sea Turtle Hospital. To date, the South Carolina Aquarium has successfully rehabilitated and released 176 sea turtles and is currently treating 11 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 is 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: Toddlers (2 and under) free; Youth (3-12) $17.95; Adults (13+) $24.95. The Aquarium plus the 4-D Theater experience is free for Toddlers, $22.95 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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