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The original item was published from 8/24/2016 5:26:54 PM to 8/29/2016 12:00:06 AM.

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Charleston County Parks News

Posted on: August 24, 2016

[ARCHIVED] South Carolina Aquarium celebrating the release of their 200th rehabilitated sea turtle

[from South Carolina Aquarium press release]

Celebrate the Release of the 200th Sea Turtle Rehabilitated by the South Carolina Aquarium: Head out to the Isle of Palms to Bid Moon and Marsh Farewell!

CHARLESTON, S.C. — August 24, 2016 — Join the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program at the Isle of Palms County Park tomorrow to experience the release of the Aquarium’s 200th rehabilitated sea turtle, Moon. Moon, a juvenile loggerhead sea turtle slated to return to the wild after five months of care, will be joined by Marsh, another juvenile loggerhead that has been in our care for three months. The transportation for the two turtles is being made possible through the use of a 4x4 Sprinter van generously provided by Mercedes-Benz Vans.

The release is taking place on Thursday, August 25 at 4:30 p.m. at the Isle of Palms County Park. It is being held in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC). Attendees should plan to carpool, arrive early, and expect to pay for parking at the county park. This release marks 200 threatened and endangered sea turtles rehabilitated and released into the wild by the Sea Turtle Rescue Program.

About the sea turtles:
Moon, a 93-pound juvenile loggerhead sea turtle, was found in April of this year in the surf near Garden City, South Carolina. Beachgoers called authorities, who quickly responded to the sick turtle and carefully transported it to the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital. Upon arrival, Moon received a full physical examination from our veterinary team and was diagnosed with Debilitated Turtle Syndrome—emaciation from not eating for months, extreme lethargy and a heavy load of barnacles and leeches on his/her shell. This turtle’s heart was beating slowly at a rate of only 10 beats per minute, and blood work was extremely poor. Supportive care was provided which included fluids, vitamins, and antibiotics. Moon responded well to intensive treatment and, surprisingly, showed an interest in food immediately. After five months of care, Moon has been cleared for release.

Marsh, a 149-pound juvenile loggerhead sea turtle suffering from a life-threatening trio of physical injuries, came to the Aquarium in May of this year. Marsh was originally found stuck in pluff mud at Huntington Beach State Park. A team of resourceful rescuers spread plywood sheets across the marsh to reach the stuck turtle and carry it to safer ground, where a vehicle was ready to transport it to the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital. Upon arrival, it was determined that Marsh was not a typical patient—the animal was relatively robust and healthy with the exception of numerous large wounds on the flippers believed to be the result of a shark attack. Following the removal of copious amounts of pluff mud from the animal, hospital team members administered pain medication, antibiotics, fluids and vitamins. X-rays performed not long after admission revealed a huge longline hook, likely intended to catch shark, embedded in Marsh’s throat. The most likely scenario is that Marsh went after the bait on the longline hook and, once stuck on the line with the hook in his/her throat, was attacked by numerous small sharks. This aggressive turtle is extremely lucky to have survived the attack! The third physical issue was diagnosed when Marsh was placed in a recovery pool, as it was evident that this loggerhead was also suffering from excess gas in the GI tract. Over the first week in our Hospital, Marsh passed six plastic items, including a clear plastic sheet nearly eight inches in circumference, which were likely causing the excess intestinal gas and flotation. Marsh is just one example of how important it is to use reusable grocery bags and to limit the use of single-use plastics, two easy steps which may help reduce how much plastic enters our oceans. Despite the shark attack, plastic impaction, and longline hook ingestion, Marsh has impressively recovered over a period of four months and is ready and eager to return to the deep blue sea.

For more information on the Sea Turtle Rescue Program and the South Carolina Aquarium, visit

Read more on the South Carolina Aquarium website
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