Join the South Carolina Aquarium for the Last Public Sea Turtle Release of 2016

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Three Rehabilitated Turtles to Return to the Deep Blue Sea

Three sea turtles, including two accidentally hooked by local fishermen, are set to return to the wild today. Oyster, Serp and Ray will be released at 2:30 p.m. at the Folly Beach County Park on Folly Beach. 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 brings the total number of sea turtles treated and released by the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center to 205, there are currently seven patients still receiving care.

About the sea turtles:
Oyster and Serp: Oyster and Serp, both juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, the most endangered of the species, were both accidentally caught by fisherman on Hilton Head Island and Edisto Island respectively. Luckily in both cases the fishermen knew to not cut the fishing line, and called SCDNR. The turtles were transported to the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital where the hooks were successfully removed. Supplemental treatment for the turtles included vitamins, antibiotics, pain medication and a healthy diet. After speedy recoveries, both turtles are ready to return to the ocean.

Ray: Ray, a juvenile loggerhead sea turtle was brought to the Aquarium in May after being stung by a stingray in the Charleston Harbor. Upon admission to the Aquarium, Ray’s neck wound was flushed and treated with antibiotic and silver ointments. Ray then received vitamins, fluids, antibiotics and pain medication. A few days after admission, the barb was surgically removed from Ray’s neck. After six months of care, Ray received a clean bill of health.

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 Care Center™ by making a donation at scaquarium.org. Your donation 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 scaquarium.org. 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: Friday, October 14, 2016, 2:30 p.m.
  • Where: Folly Beach County Park, Folly Beach, S.C.
  • Why: To return three sea turtles, including two 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 127. 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 205 sea turtles and is currently treating 7 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 scaquarium.org.

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Kate Dittloff
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