CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The South Carolina Aquarium continued its sea turtle rehabilitation efforts with the release of ten Kemp’s ridley sea turtles into the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday.
The Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Care Center team transported the ten turtles to Little Talbot Island State Park near Jacksonville, Fl. in the early hours of the morning. The team said the warm Florida waters were the ideal release point for the animals as the waters off the coast of South Carolina are too cold this time of year.
Five of the turtles had been treated for cold-stunning conditions, while the other five were treated for hook-and-line complications.
Here is more information on each turtle, provided by the Care Center:
Ana had a body temperature in the low 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature for a sea turtle is between 75 and 85 degrees F.
Kristoff also had a body temperature in the lower 60 degrees in addition to a few frost-bitten areas on their beak and flippers due to cold temperature exposure on the beach.
Sven and Hans had low body temperatures, but normal heart rates upon admission, so they were able to rest in a foam-padded bin before being moved to a tank to regain strength.
Bruni also suffered from low body temperature but exhibited an interesting floating behavior common in young sea turtles. They were given an animal-safe cube in their tank to encourage exploration and comfort in deeper waters.
Sodalite was hooked by a fisher in the surf at Huntington Beach State Park, which the Care Team was able to remove without surgery. After the hook removal, the team observed evidence that Sodalite had ingested marine debris and plastics while in the wild.
Gravel had a small circle hook stuck in their beak from a fisher at the Myrtle Beach State Park fishing pier. The size and angle of the hook made it difficult to remove initially, but the Aquarium’s onsite veterinarian Dr. Lauren Michaels was able to complete the removal without sedating the turtle.
Aventurine was hooked by a fisher at Seabrook Island. The large hook was stuck deep in the turtle’s throat making removal difficult. The hook was successfully removed and the turtle alternated between being on a ventilator and staff manually breathing for them for 24 hours.
Amethyst was caught on a hook-and-line in Shem Creek. The hook was removed that same night.
Turquoise was hooked by a fisher on the Marine Corps Air Station Base in Beaufort. The Care Center team could not see the hook or fishing line which indicates the small turtle likely swallowed the hook. That was confirmed when the Vet team observed a very large wide-gap hook near the turtle’s stomach.
Tuesday’s release was the first of the season and also the largest number of turtles that the Care Center has released at one time.