ISLE OF PALMS, SC — Four rehabilitated sea turtles were released back into the ocean along the South Carolina coast Saturday as a crowd of well-wishers cheered them on.
Before their release at the Isle of Palms, the turtles were patients at the South Carolina Aquarium's sea turtle rescue program. The turtle hospital admits 20 to 30 sea turtles each year.
Released Saturday were:
Skully, a 70-pound juvenile loggerhead who was found by canoers stranded on a sandbar in Skull Inlet near Fripp Island in June. Skully was thin, lethargic, anemic, and dehydrated. Marine leeches were flushed out of a wound, and supportive care was administered.
Crosby, a nine-pound juvenile green sea turtle that was found floating near Crosby's Seafood on the Folly River in April, the same night as the Aquarium's annual Conservation Gala. Capt. Gresh Megget of Absolute Reel Screamer Charters called SCDNR officials after noticing the little green sea turtle swimming erratically and covered in marine growth. During Crosby's stay at the Sea Turtle Hospital, the animal received fluids and antibiotics, and minor carapace wounds were flushed and treated. In May, Crosby's swimming improved and the turtle began eating a diet of fish and fresh vegetables.
Dennis, a 9-pound juvenile Kemp's ridley sea turtle (the most endangered sea turtle species) that was found cold-stunned near Cape Cod, Mass. in December. Dennis, along with nine other sea turtles, was flown to Charleston to help free up space at the New England Aquarium's Marine Animal Rescue Program. Treatment for Dennis included plenty of food and laser therapy, which was used on the right front flipper elbow which was inflamed at the bone. The laser therapy helped reverse the inflammation and stimulated the turtle's natural healing process.
Parker, a five-pound juvenile Kemp's ridley sea turtle that was accidentally caught by a recreational fisherman at the Myrtle Beach Pier in June. Upon admittance to the Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital, Parker was emaciated, dehydrated and had poor blood work. Due to the location of the hook, the Aquarium's staff veterinarian removed it without surgery. Treatment for Parker included injectable antibiotics and vitamins, as well as injectable solids and plenty of food to help the turtle gain weight.