Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Blu, Atalaya and Trawler, three sea turtles rehabilitated by the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program, are ready once again for the open ocean. The release is scheduled to take place this Friday, Sept. 5, at 11 a.m. at the Folly Beach County Park and is being held in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission (CCPRC). Attendees should plan to carpool, arrive early (gate opens at 10 a.m.), and expect to pay for parking at the county park. After the release, BLU Restaurant and Bar, located at the Tides Hotel on Folly Beach, will donate 10 percent of the proceeds from its Sept. 5 lunch service to the Sea Turtle Rescue Program. For the first time ever, the aquarium will be using Instagram's new Hyperlapse app which captures high-quality time-lapse video. That video will be posted to the aquarium's social media channels directly after the release.
Blu, a juvenile Kemp's ridley (the most endangered of the sea turtle species) was accidentally caught on a hook and line by a fisherman on the Edwin S. Taylor Folly Beach Fishing Pier this past July. Blu swallowed the hook and was transported to the aquarium's Sea Turtle Rescue Program by SCDNR. The aquarium's consulting veterinarian, Dr. Biaschoechea, surgically removed the hook from Blu's esophagus. A few days after surgery, Blu's appetite returned and after just two months of care, Blu has been medically cleared for release. Blu is named after BLU Restaurant and Bar located at the fishing pier where s/he was caught.
Atalaya, an 80-pound loggerhead sea turtle, was admitted to the aquarium's Sea Turtle Rescue Program the same night as the aquarium's annual Environmental Stewardship Awards Gala. Atalaya was found stranded on the beach at Huntington Beach State Park in Georgetown County in early May and was deathly ill. Atalaya was emaciated, dehydrated, severely anemic and had intestinal parasites. Treatment included fluids, antibiotics, vitamins and a healthy diet. Atalaya was in critical care for a full month before aquarium staff started to see substantial improvements in her health. Atalaya is now feisty and back to a healthy weight, swimming around his/her holding pool in preparation for the trip back into the open ocean.
Trawler, a 123-pound juvenile loggerhead sea turtle, was captured by the SCDNR research vessel, Lady Lisa, in late June. Trawler had an unfortunate encounter with a stingray that was caught in the same net and was punctured by the stingray's barb. Upon admission to the Sea Turtle Rescue Program, Trawler was given fluids, antibiotics, pain medication and the wound was treated and monitored. With the wound fully healed, Trawler is ready to join the loggerhead population in the Atlantic Ocean.