By Kate Dittloff for The Island Connection
Photos by Kate Dittloff
Botany, a 120-pound loggerhead sea turtle, was released into the deep blue sea last week at Isle of Palms county park. Following 5 and a half months of rehabilitative care by the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program, Botany received a clean bill of health and was returned to the wild to aid sea turtle conservation efforts.
This release marks 177 threatened and endangered sea turtles rehabilitated and released into the wild by the Sea Turtle Rescue Program.
Botany was rescued by an SCDNR research vessel, the R/V Lady Lisa, in May. Upon being brought onboard the boat, Botany was found to be severely lethargic and in extremely poor physical condition. The turtle was subsequently transported to the Aquarium Sea Turtle Hospital where team members jumped into action. Preliminary medical treatment included intravenous fluids to treat severe edema, antibiotic and vitamin injections, and supportive care. As each month passed, Botany’s health improved and s/he became extremely active.
As patients like Botany receive medical treatment and are released, it is important now more than ever to execute the planned expansion of the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital. The planned state-of-the-art facility will significantly increase the Aquarium’s capacity to rehabilitate threatened and endangered sea turtles. The new facility will be equipped with triage units, a private intensive care unit, deeper tanks, an exercise pool, cutting edge medical equipment, and additional laboratory and life-support space.
As approximately 19,000 guests currently tour the hospital annually the expansion of the hospital onto the Aquarium’s first floor will expose all 430,000 annual guests to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of these threatened and endangered sea turtles. As a not for profit, the Aquarium is looking to the community to support the construction of this hospital. To help expand the Sea Turtle Hospital visit donate.scaquarium.org/donate.
If you find a sick or injured sea turtle, contact the SCDNR sea turtle hotline at 800.922.5431. To read about the hospital’s patients visit the Sea Turtle Rescue Program blog at www.scaquarium.org/category/seaturtle-rescue-program.