Two endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are back in the wild after successful rehabilitation by the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program. The juvenile sea turtles, Prescott and Kingsbury, were part of a mass stranding event in New England in November 2014 where more than 1,000 sea turtles were found near death from hypothermia after a severe cold front hit the area. The two were flown to Georgia, along with several other sea turtles, via a private donated flight. Aquarium rescue staff transported the turtles to Charleston for treatment. The turtles were treated with fluids, antibiotics, and vitamins. Due to their weakened immune systems, Kingsbury and Prescott both developed osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone, and received an extra round of antibiotics. After more than seven months of care, Prescott and Kingsbury were both medically cleared for release. The turtles were returned to the wild Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at the Isle of Palms. The release was not announced publicly due to the immediate need to create space for new patients in the Sea Turtle Hospital.
The release of Prescott and Kingsbury marks 170 threatened or endangered sea turtles successfully rehabilitated and released by the South Carolina Aquarium. The increase of admissions year after year in the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital means an expansion is needed now more than ever. In spring of 2017, the Aquarium will construct a state-of-the-art Sea Turtle Hospital on the main floor. This $5 million dollar project will significantly grow our capacity to rescue, rehabilitate, and release threatened and endangered sea turtles. As a nonprofit organization, the Aquarium looks to the community for support. To support the Sea Turtle Hospital expansion, please visit scaquarium.org and make a donation.