Featured Image: Massive Science
The South Carolina Aquarium is home to more than just fish. The aquarium’s Sea Turtle Care Center™ encompasses both the original Sea Turtle Hospital and the newer expansion – the Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery.
Every species of sea turtle is threatened or endangered, and the SC Aquarium believes that the preservation of these charismatic animals is critical to the health of the marine ecosystem.
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When a sea turtle is found stranded or injured off the coast of South Carolina, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) brings the animal to the Sea Turtle Care Center for treatment from dedicated staff and volunteers. Sea turtles can arrive suffering from any number of illnesses or injuries. Most commonly, sea turtles are brought in due to either debilitated turtle syndrome, which is a state of shock from being exposed to cold temperatures, or injury from a boat strike or shark bite. These turtles are then rehabilitated and released home to rejoin the sea turtle population.
For 17 years, a team of staff and volunteers has been committed to patients at the Sea Turtle Hospital. The majority of the hospital’s functions have moved to the first floor as a part of the newest addition to the Sea Turtle Care Center, the Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery, but the hospital still functions as an intensive care unit for critical patients.
The Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery is both a hospital and a guest experience, allowing aquarium guests to see the full process of rescue, rehabilitation and release of sick and injured sea turtles. Guests are able to get a first-hand view of the real-life rehabilitation. Be sure to stay for a Turtle Talk to hear about the process of rescue, rehabilitation and release from care center staff and learn what it takes to be a sea turtle biologist.
Guests who wish to join in these efforts may become Sea Turtle Guardians by making annual or recurring contributions to the care center. Purchase general admission tickets to the South Carolina Aquarium to get the full Sea Turtle Care Center experience and check out the summer schedule for Turtle Talks.