[image-1] The South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Care Center is releasing two rehabilitated sea turtles this Wednesday at Isle of Palms County Park, and the public is invited to the 9 a.m. ceremony.
Chum, a Kemp’s ridley, and Marlin, a loggerhead, were the first turtles moved to the center’s new Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery, which opened earlier this year as an expansion of the aquarium’s 17-year-old Sea Turtle Hospital. After just three months of care, Chum and Marlin are also the first turtles from the new facility to be released. Both were caught in April on hook-and-line, Marlin at Myrtle Beach’s Apache Pier and Chum in Beaufort.
Founded in 2000, the aquarium’s care center works with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured and stranded sea turtles. The center admits between 25 and 35 sea turtles a year, and the center has successfully released 228 sea turtles. There are currently 19 patients, and most turtles stay for nine months.
SCDNR says that on average, 127 sea turtles are stranded on South Carolina beaches each year. About 10 percent are found alive and successfully taken to the care center. If you find a sick or injured sea turtle, call SCDNR’s sea turtle hotline at (800) 922-5431. You can track the progress of current turtle patients with the center’s blog.