Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My, what beautiful skin you have!

"Hamlin Creek," named for the creek behind the Isle of Palms where s/he was rescued, was admitted into the Aquarium's Sea Turtle Rescue Program last summer suffering from a severe skin disease. Large areas of soft tissue on the flippers and neck were infected resulting in tissue loss. The heavy encrustation of tiny barnacles masked some of the skin ulcerations, but as the barnacles fell off and medications started working, the skin lesions became more apparent.

PHOTO: On the day of arrival, Hamlin Creek was covered in small barnacles. A close view of the soft tissue revealed skin lesions and tissue loss.

PHOTO: The white skin ulcerations on the left are indicative of antibiotics and external wound treatments taking effect. This photo was taken a month after admittance and is compared with a recent photograph on the right of Hamlin Creek. Notice the large grey patches where new skin has regenerated. You may also notice that the flipper appears a bit short and stubby - this is a result of the tissue loss on the tip and posterior edge of the flipper and occurred on all four flippers.

With a great deal to overcome including regeneration of tissue, poor bloodwork, and extreme lethargy, we are thrilled with the progress Hamlin Creek has made and believe she looks positively beautiful! To learn more details about this patient and the medical care, go to the main hospital webpage.

Kelly Thorvalson
Sea Turtle Rescue Program Manager

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bay Path College Lends a Hand

Bay Path College’s 'One America' history class had the unique opportunity to travel and experience places they learned about during their semester. The 2012 trip included stops in Atlanta, Savannah, and our very own Charleston. Although their trip focused on visiting historic landmarks such as The King Center, Carter Museum and Fort Sumter, the group also made time to volunteer in each city.

With Charleston on the list of stops, the group contacted our Sea Turtle Rescue Program hoping aid our conservation efforts by participating in a beach sweep. Knowing the implications of trash on our beaches, we were thrilled with the idea. Litter on beaches and in our oceans harm marine mammals, sea turtles, and birds. These animals can ingest or become entangled in trash and according to Say No to Plastics, result in an estimated 100,000 deaths a year.

Taking a closer look at a sea star found during the clean-up.

The girls celebrating a successful cleanup!

The Bay Path group and Sea Turtle Rescue Program staff spent over an hour cleaning trash and recyclables from Folly Beach. Some of our most common finds during the beach sweep were plastic wrapping, aluminum cans, cigarette butts, and firework debris. After the clean-up, the group headed back to the South Carolina Aquarium to tour the Sea Turtle Hospital where they learned all about sea turtles and gathered information about college internships and careers within our field.

In the hospital introduction, the girls learn about
the four species of sea turtles found off the SC coast.

The girls meet Gumby, our very small and spunky loggerhead recovering from metabolic bone disease. 

A BIG thank you to the Bay Path One America History class for all your hard work on the beach!

Whitney Daniel
Sea Turtle Rescue Program Biologist