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!