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We’re forever grateful to the South Carolina Aquarium‘s Sea Turtle Care Center for helping to save the lives of our flippered friends! Scroll on to learn all about the process, from rescue to release.

When a sea turtle is found stranded or injured, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources brings the animal to the Sea Turtle Care Center at the South Carolina Aquarium for treatment. Sea turtles arrive most commonly suffering from debilitated turtle syndrome, shock from being exposed to cold temperatures or injury from a boat strike or shark bite.

Sea Turtle Care Center veterinarians diagnose each turtle and work with fellow staff members and volunteers to provide treatment and rehabilitative care. Patients are given IV fluids, antibiotics, vitamins and additional medications as needed. Based on the sea turtle’s condition, a variety of procedures may be performed, such as x-rays or ultrasounds. Rehabilitated sea turtles are released home in the hopes that they will become reproductive members of the sea turtle population! 

The Sea Turtle Care Center admits 20 – 30 sea turtles each year! While many of these animals are sadly in critical condition and too sick to save, many return happy and healthy to the ocean. The Sea Turtle Care Center is currently treating 17 patients! Scroll on to meet two of our flippered friends and read about their stories.

Sarabi

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Stranding Location: Cape Island

Weight: 290 Pounds

Sarabi was found when Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge staff and volunteers were completing nesting surveys and they spotted a struggling sea turtle nearby. They found it was a large loggerhead entangled in the rope of a crab pot, with the buoy and pot still attached. The rope was wrapped around her front flippers and neck. She was carefully transported to the South Carolina Aquarium for treatment, where staff flushed her wounds, gave her antibiotics and vitamins, checked her vitals and applied topical treatments to her wounds. Sarabi was placed in a tank to rest overnight and became very active once placed in water, which is a great sign! She quickly became very strong and feisty, though she is still not eating. Click here for the most up-to-date news on Sarabi!

Banzai

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Stranding Location: Hunting Island State Park

Weight: 260 Pounds

Banzai was spotted stranded on a sand bar at low tide by visitors to Hunting Island State Park, who noticed injuries to her flippers and neck. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was contacted and Banzai was carefully transported to the South Carolina Aquarium for treatment. Banzai’s injuries appeared to be caused by a predator attack, most likely a shark. A portion of her right front flipper was missing and her remaining three flippers had deep lacerations. The Sea Turtle Care Center team flushed and cleaned her wounds, completed blood work and gave her an ultrasound to determine if she was nesting this year. She was given vitamins and fluids for dehydration, and was started on antibiotics. Medi-honey, a medical grade honey, was applied to her wounds and she was left resting comfortably on a foam waterbed overnight. One month later, she is now in a full tank of water and eating about 2.5 pounds of fish per day. She is still receiving antibiotic injections, as well as cold laser therapy, and has a ways to go before her wounds are fully healed, but is showing good signs. Click here for the most up-to-date news on Banzai!

To learn all about the Sea Turtle Care Center’s local beach releases, click here, and be sure to keep an eye on the South Carolina Aquarium’s social media outlets for upcoming release dates!