Three Rehabilitated Sea Turtles Once Again Swimming in the Atlantic After Treatment at the South Carolina Aquarium

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Loggerhead Turtles Successfully Treated by Sea Turtle Rescue Program

Edings, A Loggerhead Sea Turtle Being Released by the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program

Belton, Edings, and Kia, three loggerhead sea turtles, are once again swimming in the deep blue sea. All three were successfully released in Flagler Beach, Fla. yesterday, February 25, 2016, after receiving medical treatment from the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program. This release marks 182 threatened and endangered sea turtles successfully treated and released by the Sea Turtle Rescue Program.

For photos of the release click here.
For video of the release click here.

About the sea turtles:
Edings: Edings, a juvenile loggerhead sea turtle weighing 127 pounds, was admitted to the Sea Turtle Rescue Program in May 2015 after being found stranded on Edingsville Beach on Edisto Island. Edings was transported to the sea turtle hospital by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Upon admission, the Aquarium’s veterinarian diagnosed cataracts in both eyes and directed initial supportive care, which included fluids, vitamins and antibiotics. Dr. Anne Cook from Animal Eye Care of the Lowcountry successfully performed surgery to remove both cataracts and, after nine months of care, Edings was cleared for release by the South Carolina Aquarium veterinarian.

Kia: Kia, a 91-pound juvenile loggerhead sea turtle, came to the hospital after being found stranded by the Kiawah Beach Patrol in July 2015. Kia was initially lethargic, extensively covered in algae and had clearly been sick for some time. Upon admission to the Sea Turtle Hospital, staff determined this turtle was suffering from debilitated turtle syndrome (DTS), which results in a poor overall state of health as evidenced by bloodwork. Treatment for Kia included antibiotics, fluid therapy, vitamins and a healthy diet. Once Kia gained weight and his/her health returned to 100 percent, s/he was cleared for release.

Belton: Belton, a 100-pound juvenile loggerhead sea turtle, was found emaciated in June of last year in Hilton Head. Upon admission, the Aquarium’s veterinarian was concerned about the right front flipper’s advanced state of necrosis, as the tissue covering the entire flipper was either dead or dying. While there is no way to determine what caused the injury, Hospital staff have seen similar injuries in previous patients who’ve had ropes or fishing line tightly entangled around their flippers. Belton received supportive care including fluids, vitamins, and antibiotics, as well as cold laser therapy sessions to help the injured flipper heal. Belton fully regained his/her health and was released in Florida’s warm coastal waters with Kia and Edings.

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 going to and making a donation.

To read about our patients or track their recovery progress, 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.

Fast Facts:

  • Three loggerhead sea turtles were released by the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016
  • The turtles will be released in the warm waters of Flagler Beach, Fla.
  • This release marks 182 threatened and endangered sea turtles rescued, rehabilitated, and released by the Sea Turtle Rescue Program
  • The public may visit the Sea Turtle Hospital and current patients by booking a tour online, or by calling (843) 577-3474

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, during the past 10 years the average number of sea turtle standings on South Carolina beaches each year is 128. 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 182 sea turtles and is currently treating 9 patients. The average cost for each patient’s treatment is $35 per 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: 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 Memberships are available by calling 843-577-FISH.

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Kate Dittloff
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