Bid Farewell to Two Sea Turtles Ready to Return to the Wild After Treatment at the South Carolina Aquarium

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Join the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center™ for Thursday’s Public Release

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Two sea turtles treated by the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center™ are ready to once again swim the deep blue sea. Hunley, a loggerhead sea turtle, and Glenn, a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, have been fully rehabilitated; both will be released this Thursday, September 22, 4:30 p.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 and Recreation Commission (CCPRC). Attendees should plan to carpool, arrive early, and expect to pay for parking at the county park.

This release marks 202 threatened and endangered sea turtles rehabilitated and released into the wild by the Sea Turtle Care Center™. The remaining ten patients will continue to receive care in the Sea Turtle Hospital. This season, hospital team members have been working around the clock rehabilitating turtle patients, with a record 43 admissions in 2016.

About the sea turtles:
Hunley, an adult female loggerhead sea turtle, was recovered by an SCDNR research vessel in July of this year. Scientists on the boat were immediately concerned about this turtle’s state of health upon noticing that she’d sustained severe injuries to her head, shell, and flippers; as such, they reached out to arrange immediate transport to the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital. Upon admission, team members at the Aquarium began treatment including pain medication, antibiotics, fluids, wound care and vitamins. It is believed that the turtle not only survived a shark attack but also multiple boat propeller strikes. After three months of hands-on care and a healthy diet, Hunley is fully rehabilitated and ready for release.

Glenn, a juvenile Kemp’s ridley, the most endangered of the world’s seven sea turtle species, was admitted to the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital in April of this year. Glenn was admitted after being accidentally captured by a hopper dredge that was operating to deepen Charleston Harbor’s shipping lanes. Team members worked diligently to stabilize Glenn during admission and provided treatments such as fluids, antibiotics, vitamins and wound care for numerous abrasions. Additionally, our veterinarian diagnosed Glenn with two additional and highly concerning maladies: severe bone infections in both front flippers and a lung bulla. The lung bulla, an extremely rare condition likely caused by passage through the hopper dredge, consisted of a non-functional bubble-like cavity in the lungs and required experimental treatment to cure. Our highly-skilled vet team networked with various human and animal medical experts to craft a surgical treatment plan and were very successful in correcting the lung bulla, which ultimately permitted the left lung to heal and return to normal size. After just six months of intensive care, Glenn has regained his/her health and is ready to return to the Atlantic Ocean.

How to help:
Help protect threatened and endangered sea turtles. If a sick or injured sea turtle is found, contact the SCDNR sea turtle hotline at (800) 922-5431. Help care for sea turtles in recovery in the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center™ by making a donation at Donations will not only support the care of these turtles, but will also help fund Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™, enabling the Aquarium to treat even more sea turtle patients.

Slated to open May 2017, Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™ will serve as a living, interactive learning landscape. It will present the remarkable journey from rescue, to rehabilitation, to release that each of our patients experience, establishing the Aquarium as a powerful educational presenter of sea turtle conservation on the East Coast.

To read about our patients or track their recovery progress, visit our Sea Turtle Care Center™ blog at Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates from the hospital, including public sea turtle release details.

More on the sea turtle release:
Who: The South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center™, SCDNR and CCPRC
What: Public sea turtle release
When: Thursday, September 22, 4:30 p.m.
Where: Isle of Palms County Park, Isle of Palms, S.C.
Why: To return two sea turtles, including a critically endangered Kemp’s ridley, back into the wild

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 Care Center™:
In partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center™ works to rescue, rehabilitate and release sea turtles that strand along the South Carolina coast. Located in the Aquarium, the Sea Turtle Hospital admits 25 to 35 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 202. 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 200 sea turtles and is currently treating 10 patients. The average cost for each patient’s treatment is $50 per day with the average length of stay of nine months.

About the South Carolina Aquarium:
The South Carolina Aquarium 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 the 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 5 p.m. (last ticket sold at 4 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. For more information, call (843) 577-FISH (3474) or visit


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Kate Dittloff
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