Saturday, August 25, 2012

Gumby Gets Excited About Fill Pipe!

Start your weekend off right with a fun video starring Gumby interacting with his fill pipe and water! 

Sea Turtle Rescue Team

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sea Turtle Release this Thursday at Kiawah!

The South Carolina Aquarium is excited to announce the release of two sea turtles, Pier and Grover, at 3pm on Thursday, August 16th at Beachwalker County Park on Kiawah Island. County Park parking fees apply and parking will be limited so please carpool and arrive early. This release, in partnership with the SC Department of Natural Resources and the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission, will bring the South Carolina Aquarium to 94 sea turtles successfully rehabilitated and returned to the ocean.

Pier:  This juvenile loggerhead sea turtle suffered a massive shark bite to the carapace (shell) and remarkably, escaped otherwise unscathed. Luckily, fishermen on the Folly Beach fishing pier caught the injured turtle on hook and line and notified proper authorities so the turtle could be transported to the Sea Turtle Hospital and returned to optimal health.

Pier's first swim in the Sea Turtle Hospital.
Close up of Pier's wound during admission.
A remarkable amount of healing has taken place in only 2 months!
Grover:  Rescued in March of this year from the chilly waters of Cherry Grove, the juvenile green sea turtle was the first live local stranding of the season. The 60 degree waters caused the turtle to become hypothermic but after 5 months in rehabilitation, is incredibly strong and feisty!
Grover's behavior and physical condition improved greatly after 4 months of rehabilitation.
The colors of Grover's plastron, carapace and skin has improved dramatically!
These turtles have made a lasting impression on those that have visited them in the hospital on tours and that have worked with them. They both epitomize the resilience of sea turtles and their feisty nature reminds us why these animals have been around for millions of years. Good luck Pier and Grover!

Kelly Thorvalson
Sea Turtle Rescue Program Manager

PS - Remember to arrive extra early to get a parking place and a good viewing spot on the ropes!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Small Kemp's ridley freed from fisherman's hook

The most recent sea turtle admitted into our Sea Turtle Hospital is one of the smallest sea turtles in the history of the program! Weighing only 2.09 kg (4.6 pounds), the Kemp's ridley was caught on hook and line by a shore fisherman on Edisto Island near Murray Street. When the fisherman and others realized they could not remove the hook that was deeply embedded in the back of the mouth, they turned the turtle over to the SC Department of Natural Resources to be transported to our Sea Turtle Hospital so the hook could be safely removed.

Lisa Scarano from SCDNR holds "Murray" as Dr. Boylan inspects the mouth.
X-rays were performed to determine exactly where the hook was located.
Fishing hooks show up well on x-rays and help guide surgery for hook removal. Notice all the shell hash in Murray's intestinal tract! Thanks to SCUTE, the Gobiens and all the folks that helped us acquire this priceless machine!
With the turtle under anesthesia, hook removal surgery was performed.
Success! After the drugs wore off, Murray was placed in a filtered tank in the Sea Turtle Hospital, where s/he will spend several week recuperating.

Murray is very active and eating well. Thanks to all involved in this turtle's rescue, to all involved in the recovery, and to all who support this program. There are currently 10 sea turtle patients at various stages of rehabilitation. Visit our Sea Turtle Hospital web page for updates on the patients and to learn about Sea Turtle Hospital tour days and times so you can visit the patients in person.

All the best,
Kelly Thorvalson

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reflections from our Departing Italian Intern

Hi everybody! My name is Sara and I am one of three South Carolina Aquarium's Sea Turtle Rescue Program interns this summer. I'm from Italy and I've decided to come here because I love sea turtles and I am so lucky because my application was accepted. I'm leaving America at the end of July so I would like to share some thoughts with you.

Sara holds our wild diamondback terrapin, Stumpy, while her amputated front limb is flushed.
Seing these animals everyday makes me very happy, and to have the opportunity to work with them makes me even happier! Now there are 9 turtles in the hospital, and it's very hard to say which one I prefer because, after I have spent almost 2 months with them, I can say that every one has a peculiar characteristic, something that makes him special.

Gumby makes me laugh as he loves to bite everything!
As interns, we have many different responsibilities around the hospital. We must ensure that the hospital is as clean and tidy as possible, we feed the turtles, do treatments, etc. Something new often happens that changes all the schedules and teaches me something, and I promise you that I'm never bored!
Our veterinarian taught Sara how to draw blood on Charlie, our largest loggerhead turtle.
One of the nicest things is the coming in of a new turtle. It may happen anytime, and when I get the call I start thinking ”How big will she be? What species? I hope she's well.” Unfortunately since I've been here I’ve seen some turtles that were not very well. Some have died after they came in and when it happens it's very sad, and I feel helpless. But it's a great feeling when I get to help a new turtle, and to watch them recover.

Sara (in blue shirt) helped flush George's head wound when he was admitted last Friday.
Also, I saw a lot of happy cases! There are new turtles like Pier, Charlie, Bulls Bay, and Hook, and they are all getting better! It's very interesting to observe the healing process - the first few days are crucial, the turtles may not feel like eating, but now Bulls eats a lot and Charlie has delicious taste - he eats only crabs!
Charlie is a picky eater! He eats only blue crabs for breakfast.
In conclusion, although these animals aren't like pets, they are giving me a lot of satisfaction! The only thing that I'm not yet able to do is teaching them to speaking Italian...but I'm working on it!

Sara Gori
STRP Intern