Sea Turtle Release at Isle of Palms
The SC Aquarium Sea Turtle release started off the beach season with excitement. On May 7th, the rehabilitated turtles (Hilton, Guardian, Hyde, Ripley, St. Catherine, Pirate, and Palmer) were loaded up and transported to Isle of Palms County Park where the crowd of onlookers, sunbathers, swimmers, and turtle lovers eagerly awaited. Three loggerheads and four green sea turtles were released individually, and hundreds were gathered on the sidelines to watch as they walked from the sand into the ocean. This was not just a day of happiness for the sea creatures, but also for those who were there to witness their return to the sea.
Sea turtles are an endangered species and the Sea Turtle Rescue Program at the SC Aquarium is doing all they can to change that. Turtles are brought in from a multitude of beaches when found on the shore sick or injured. The Sea Turtle Hospital is equipped to handle anything from a bacterial infection to boat strike or shark bite injuries. Although there have been some relatively quick recoveries, the average sea turtle will be treated for 7-8 months. Once they are fully recovered, they cannot be released until the water is warm enough. By the first week of May, it is usually safe for the turtles to return to the sea and there are sometimes quite a few ready to go by then. Therefore, those gathered can see and celebrate that the Sea Turtle Hospital is making a difference in helping these turtles back to their health and homes.