Wednesday, June 11, 2014
It is a happy ending for a small sea turtle found lifeless in a Lowcountry saltmarsh. This past January, a family found Amelia, a 10-pound juvenile green sea turtle, cold and lethargic in a marsh on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. The family jumped into action and called the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) who brought the turtle to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program.
At the time of the stranding, air temperatures were below freezing and coastal water temperatures were approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures far too cold for a cold-blooded juvenile sea turtle. Amelia arrived at the Sea Turtle Hospital with a body temperature of 46.5 degrees F, a heart rate of four beats per minute and was not breathing on her own. Staff slowly warmed the turtle, assisted with its breathing, and administered fluids and medications. Now, just six months later, Amelia has returned to the ocean. Amelia was released off of Kiawah Island Friday afternoon, June 6.
You too can help threatened and endangered sea turtles. If you find a sick or injured sea turtle, contact the SCDNR sea turtle hotline at 800-922-5431. You can also help care for sea turtles in recovery at the aquarium's Sea Turtle Rescue Program by going to www.scaquarium.org and making a donation and by visiting the South Carolina Aquarium and booking a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sea Turtle Hospital.
To track the progress of current patients in recovery, visit the Sea Turtle Hospital Rescue Program blog at www.scaquarium.org.