Tuesday, October 18, 2011

MerriElizabeth’s Sea Turtle Birthday Celebration!

Appropriately adorned in a sea turtle dress and barrettes, a very special 2-year-old girl named MerriElizabeth visited the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital on October 9th bearing a wonderful gift for our sea turtle patients. MerriElizabeth had just celebrated her second birthday and in lieu of toys, her family and friends chose to honor her by aiding the sick and injured turtles in our hospital. In all, MerriElizabeth raised more than $550 and is now a proud Stranded Sea Turtle Adoptive Parent!

Clutching Trevor (her stuffed sea turtle), MerriElizabeth explored the hospital and was drawn to the turtles swimming in their tanks. Thanks to the tank windows, she was able to get face-to-face with Barrington, our juvenile loggerhead who underwent brain surgery last July and seemed to be one of her favorites.

Children who visit the hospital are always amazed at the anatomical similarities between sea turtles and humans. Our preserved sea turtle carapace, which clearly shows how the rib bones have been modified in turtles to produce the shell, elicited a huge smile from this bright little birthday girl!

Ever the charmer, MerriElizabeth set aside her fish crackers long enough give me a beautifully executed high-five and show me how to say “thank you” in sign language on her way out to enjoy Charleston’s beautiful fall weather. I’d like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” and flipper hugs to MerriElizabeth and to everyone who helped make her second birthday such a memorable event!

Christi Hughes
Sea Turtle Biologist

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Photos and video of McClellan's release!

A team of Aquarium staff members get McClellan out of the holding tank she has occupied for almost 4 months...

...and carefully load her into the transport bin.

After arriving at the Isle of Palms County Park, McClellan is taken from the transport container by the release team.

Shelley and Ethan Harrison from Caledonia, Ontario in Canada, were in town for this special release. Ethan, now 9 years old, has raised over $6,000 for the Sea Turtle Rescue Program, starting when he was only 4 years old.

The release team clockwise from left to right: Dan Ashworth, one of the USFWS staff on the boat that rescued McClellan; Kevin Handel, Sea Turtle Rescue Program Intern; Bob Crimian, Sea Turtle Rescue Progam Volunteer; Lee Baldonado, South Carolina Aquarium Environmental Services Manager. Thanks guys!

The release team walked McClellan into the water because of her missing front flipper. She stopped for a few moments on a sandbar but once free of that obstacle, headed out to sea.

Enjoy the video of McClellan's release!

Huge thanks to all involved in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of this amazing animal!
Kelly Thorvalson

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Amputee loggerhead to be released this Friday

We are excited to be able to release an adult female loggerhead back into the Atlantic Ocean on Friday, October 7, 2011. McClellan suffered a flipper amputation from a crab trap rope entanglement and loss of a portion of her shell from propeller strikes. Despite these traumatic injuries, she has recovered in less than four months! The public is invited to join us at 1pm at the Isle of Palms County Park for this release held in partnership with the SC Department of Natural Resources and the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission. Arrive early to get a good parking space (County Park parking fees apply).

Visit the Sea Turtle Hospital at http://scaquarium.org/STR/hospital/default.aspx to learn more about McClellan’s injuries and rehabilitation. We hope to see you Friday!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

1st Annual Logtoberfest on Folly Beach!

Come out to Loggerhead's on Folly Beach this Saturday, October 8th for the 1st Annual Logtoberfest from 4PM - 2AM. Enjoy the oyster roast and BBQ for only $20 with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program. No purchase necessary to enjoy live music from Graham Whorley, Jamisun, and Howard Dlugasch on the outside stage and the Dubplates inside at 10.

Hope to see you there!
Kelly Thorvalson