Endangered Kemp's ridley and two juvenile Loggerheads ready for release

Image by Flickr user Wendell Reed

Head to Kiawah Island on Tuesday, July 12, for a one-of-a-kind heartwarming experience as three sea turtles are returned to the Atlantic Ocean.

In partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission, the South Carolina Aquarium will be holding the release at 11 a.m. at Beachwalker County Park on Kiawah Island. The event is open to the public; those who attend should arrive early, carpool, and expect to pay for parking at the County Park.

The turtles, two juvenile loggerheads and one adult female Kemp's ridley, which is rare off the South Carolina coast, were all brought into the Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital, injured or sick. They've received top-notch medical care over the past few months and have all received a clean bill of health. Here's more on the turtles being released from the presser:

Grice:

Grice, a 66-pound loggerhead, was caught May 13, 2011 by SCDNR staff in kayaks by the Grice Marine Laboratory on James Island. When admitted, Grice was covered in black skin lesions, leeches, leech eggs and barnacles. Treatment included antibiotics, fluids and vitamin injections. Grice's appetite has grown back with a vengeance his/her favorite thing to eat are blue crabs, which are a major prey item for loggerhead sea turtles diet in the wild.

Lady Lisa:

Lady Lisa, a 68-pound loggerhead, was caught June 6, 2011 by SCDNR's research vessel Lady Lisa. Lisa was admitted with keratin (protective outer layer of skin) loss on flippers and neck. The cause of the keratin loss is unknown but has since cleared up through treatment with antibiotics. Lisa also received fluids and supportive care while at the Sea Turtle Hospital.

Bennett:

Bennett, an adult female Kemp's ridley, the most endangered of all the species of sea turtles, was also caught by SCDNR's research vessel Lady Lisa on June 9, 2011. Bennett was found with a stingray barb wound in her body cavity by the right rear flipper. Treatment included wound flushing, antibiotics, fluids, and vitamins. Outside of the stingray injury, she is was in excellent health and made a speedy recovery. Bennett is the first adult female Kemp's ridley that has ever been admitted into the Sea Turtle hospital.

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