The South Carolina Aquarium is celebrating World Turtle Day® on Saturday, May 21! The annual observance was established by the American Tortoise Rescue (ATR), a nonprofit organization established in 1990 for the protection of all tortoise and turtle species. World Turtle Day® aims to celebrate and protect these reptiles and their disappearing habitats around the world.
We celebrate and protect turtles every day at the Aquarium. To help ensure that sea turtles have a future in our oceans, our Sea Turtle Rescue Program cares for sick and injured sea turtles with the goal of returning them to the wild. Our team has successfully rehabilitated and released 163 turtles since opening. In addition to having the only sea turtle rescue facility in the state, we strive to inspire care of sea turtles and teach our guests about what they can do to protect sea turtles and the ocean. With just a few changes to your everyday habits, you can make a difference.
Leave no trace at the beach.
It’s summertime! Everyone is flocking to the beach for picnics, sand castles and sunshine. Just remember – the beach is also home to many sea creatures, including turtles. South Carolina nesting season takes place May through October. The following steps recommended by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) will help protect threatened and endangered sea turtle nests and help hatchlings make it to the ocean safely.
- Turn out the lights!: Eliminate lighting that’s visible from the beach
- Don’t disturb sea turtles or their nests
- Pack out what you pack in
- Call the SCDNR Sea Turtle Hotline at (800) 922-5431 if you find a sick, injured or dead sea turtle
Reduce your use of plastics.
Bags, bottles, plastics – oh my! The products we use on land often end up in the ocean and marine debris can have detrimental effects on sea turtles. Making small adjustments to your daily use of plastics can protect countless sea turtles from harm.
- Bring reusable bags whenever you go shopping
- Use a reusable water bottle
- Attend a local trash sweep to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the ocean
- Pick up any trash you see on the beach
Become a conscious seafood consumer.
It’s the perfect time of year for a backyard BBQ or dining outside at your favorite local restaurant. Do you know you can support sea turtle conservation by supporting environmentally responsible seafood suppliers? The choices you make when purchasing seafood can either help or harm the environments that sea turtles live. If you catch your own seafood, you can take measures to protect turtles as well.
- Make the pledge to Ask Before You Order and only purchase seafood that was harvested responsibly, using methods that cause minimal habitat destruction
- If you have a crab trap, use a bycatch reduction device (BDR) to reduce the number of terrapins that become trapped in the crab trap
Join us Saturday to pay homage to these diverse and amazing reptiles with special turtle-themed activities including an art station, turtle education stations and visits with turtle patrol teams throughout South Carolina. These activities are included with general admission.
Take in a one-of-a-kind experience on this day by touring the Sea Turtle Hospital, the only sea turtle rescue facility in our state, at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. Call (843) 577-FISH (3474) to reserve your spot!
Use #WorldTurtleDay to share how you’re celebrating turtles!