Wednesday, April 28, 2010

7 sea turtles being released!

In just three days, 3 loggerhead sea turtles and 4 green sea turtles will be released back into the ocean! This will be the largest release in the program’s history and will take us to over 50 sea turtles that have been rehabilitated and released by the South Carolina Aquarium. The release will take place on the first official day of nesting season in South Carolina, Saturday, May 1st and begin at 3:30pm at the Isle of Palms County Park. The IOP County Park opens at 10am. Space for parking is limited and parking fees apply. Carpooling is strongly advised and be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get through heavy traffic.

You can visit the Beasley, Ocracoke, Scute, Dare, Cluse, Frisco and Mingo in the hospital before the release by taking one of the tours on Friday or Saturday. More information on tours and the turtles can be found on the website and reservations can be made at 843-577-FISH (3474) or toll free at (800) 722-6455.

We hope that you will be able to join us!

Monday, April 19, 2010

1st live SC stranding admitted into Sea Turtle Hospital

Juvenile Kemp's ridleys are famous for taking bait of recreational hook and line fishermen and swallowing the hooks. These hooks can be detrimental to the lives of these animals and we encourage fishermen to turn the turtle over to SCDNR if they are unable to remove the hook safely.

This is just the case with the first live stranding in South Carolina. A 5-pound Kemp's ridley was caught in the surf on Hilton Head, SC and was transported by SCDNR officials Sunday night. The small turtle named "Surfer" is somewhat lethargic and thin. These signs in addition to skin lesions across the neck and shoulders indicate the turtle may have been suffering from an infection prior to getting hooked.
Radiographs were performed Monday morning to see the type and depth of the hook in the esophagus and hook removal surgery soon followed with the turtle under full anesthesia. Surgery took approximately 50 minutes with Dr. Boylan at the helm. Hospital staff had to breathe for the animal for hours as he recovered from surgery and eventually Dr. Boylan took the turtle home with him to continue that breathing. Prognosis is guarded. Much more detail of the surgery and treatment can be found on the "Surfer's" individual case log on the Sea Turtle Hospital page.

Thanks all involved in the rescue of this endangered Kemp's ridley. We are doing everything possible to aid in it's recovery!

Kelly T

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Mama Pritchard" goes home!

Weighing 368 pounds at release, Mama Pritchard is the largest sea turtle ever to be released by the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program. The first major task was to get her out of her hospital tank! This was done with a team of 7 Aquarium staff members.

People came from all over South Carolina to see her one last time as she lumbered down the beach at the Isle of Palms towards the ocean. Rebecca Padget and Anne Furlong were both interns on Pritchard's Island during the summer of 2008 and were responsible for Mama Pritchard's initial rescue on the beach. They both drove into town (one all the way from Virginia) to see the release and are pictured here with Mama Pritchard, Dr. Boylan and me.

With help from a large crew on the beach, Mama Pritchard finally made it to the ocean. Below are two short video clips of the release. Without a doubt, it was an amazing sight to see.

I would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone involved in the rescue, rehabilitation and ultimate release of this turtle. This includes our stranded turtle adoptive parents and all the folks who visited her over the 21 months in our Sea Turtle Hospital. You all make it possible for us to do what we do!

Kelly T

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Mama Pritchard" is getting released!

We are excited to announce the first sea turtle release of 2010! Our 330-pound adult female loggerhead, "Mama Pritchard" is being released on Saturday, April 17 at the Isle of Palms County Park at 4:30pm.

Over the last several weeks, "Mama Pritchard" has become somewhat agitated in her tank. Because of the time of year, this immediately alerted staff that she may be getting ready for a reproductive season. Bloodwork was analyzed and the extremely high levels of blood protein and calcium levels are perfectly in line with a reproductively active female sea turtle. Recent ultrasound confirmed that she is in fact, producing egg follicle (yolks) in preparation for the upcoming nesting season. In South Carolina, the loggerhead nesting season officially begins May 15th. It is critical to release her so she does not miss her mating window which takes place a short time before nesting begins. Successful mating will allow her to fertilize the follicles which will hopefully lead to a productive nesting season and have a positive impact on the local loggerhead population.

Photo above is Mama Pritchard just after being admitted into the hospital.

Photos above are wounds at time of arrival and 8 months into rehab.
You can get a last up-close look at "Mama Pritchard" before her release as well as visit the additional 12 sea turtle patients by taking a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sea Turtle Hospital. Tours are scheduled on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30am and 1pm. To make a reservation call 843-577-FISH (3474) or toll free at 800-722-6455.

We hope to see you on the beach!

Friday, April 9, 2010

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