Public Sea Turtle Release Scheduled for Today by the South Carolina Aquarium

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Large Juvenile Loggerhead to Be Released on the Isle of Palms by the Sea Turtle Rescue Program

Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Botany, Ready for Release

Botany, a 120-pound loggerhead sea turtle, is preparing for a trip back into the deep blue sea. Following 5 ½ months of rehabilitative care by the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program, this turtle has been given a clean bill of health and is being released today at 11 a.m. at the Isle of Palms County Park. 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 177 threatened and endangered sea turtles rehabilitated and released into the wild by the Sea Turtle Rescue Program.

More on the turtle being released:
Botany:
Botany, a 120-pound loggerhead sea turtle, was rescued by an SCDNR research vessel, the R/V Lady Lisa, in May. Upon being brought onboard the boat, Botany was found to be severely lethargic and in extremely poor physical condition. Botany was subsequently transported to the Aquarium Sea Turtle Hospital where team members jumped into action. Preliminary medical treatment included intravenous fluids to treat severe edema, antibiotic and vitamin injections, and supportive care. As each month passed, Botany’s health improved and s/he became extremely active. After 5 ½ months of treatment, Botany was cleared for release and is being returned to the wild to aid sea turtle conservation efforts.

Help is needed:
As patients like Botany receive medical treatment and are released, it is important now more than ever to execute the planned expansion of the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital. The planned state-of-the-art facility will significantly increase the Aquarium’s 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.

As approximately 19,000 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 not for profit, 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 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:

  • Botany, a loggerhead sea turtle, is being returned to the wild
  • Scheduled for today, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015 at 11 a.m.., Isle of Palms County Park
  • Arrive early and plan to carpool
  • The release of Botany brings the total number of sea turtles released by the Aquarium to 177
  • 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 provides medical treatment to approximately 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 an average of 130 sea turtles strand on South Carolina beaches each year. 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 177 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 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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