About Our Program
All seven species of sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered. This is a reflection of the growing issues surrounding coastal development and ocean conservation. To help ensure that sea turtles have a future in our oceans, the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program aids sick and injured sea turtles in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).
The Sea Turtle Rescue Program has rescued, rehabilitated and released nearly 200 sea turtles, and the Aquarium has positioned itself to become a worldwide leader in sea turtle rehabilitation and conservation. This fall we will break ground on Sea Turtle Recovery™, a state-of-the-art sea turtle hospital on the main floor so that every guest can observe the care and rehabilitation of these threatened and endangered species; increasing our capacity to care for more sea turtles and educate more guests on sea turtle conservation.
Rehabilitated and Released
When a sea turtle is found stranded or injured, SCDNR brings the animal to the Sea Turtle Hospital for treatment. Sea turtles arrive at the hospital most commonly suffering from bacterial or fungal infections, shock from being exposed to cold temperatures, or injury from a boat strike or shark bite. Our staff veterinarian diagnoses each turtle and works with hospital staff and volunteers to provide treatments and rehabilitative care. Patients are given IV fluids, antibiotics, vitamins, and other medications. 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 to hopefully become reproductive members of the sea turtle population.
Your Support is Vital to Sea Turtle Survival
The odds of a sea turtle hatchling surviving long enough to reach reproductive maturity is slim due to natural and human threats. Human impacts have seriously depleted sea turtle populations to the point where we are in danger of losing some species forever.
The Sea Turtle Hospital provides a place for sick and injured sea turtles to receive care, treatment and medicines. With your support, we can continue efforts to sustain these species into the next century and beyond.
Turtle Teams Making a Difference
The most common sea turtle found along the South Carolina coast, and also the state reptile, is the loggerhead sea turtle. Under management by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Marine Turtle Conservation Program, more than 20 turtle teams identify and protect sea turtle nests. The teams are composed of volunteers who conduct nest inventories and assist when stranded sea turtles are found.
To report a stranded sea turtle, please call the SCDNR Hotline: (800) 922-5431