A loggerhead turtle is released to its ocean habitat; Caretta, a female loggerhead who was raised in captivity, lives in the South Carolina Aquarium’s Great Ocean Tank. Photographs (2) by Jason Stemple
June 13, 2013
Rehabilitated loggerheads return to the depths
written by Gregory Mangieri
If you enjoyed reading our June feature “Return of the Ancient Mariner” which surveyed the status of threatened loggerhead turtles, you’re going to love this update. Since going to press, three lucky loggerheads have been nursed back to health by the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Team, two of which have taken to the waves once again.
Loggerheads Manteo and Taylor, both cold-stunned in North Carolina and Massachusetts, were transferred to the aquarium for treatment in January. Cold-stunning occurs with sudden drops in water temperature, which can cause turtles to shut down all movement and digestion. For five months, the pros at the South Carolina Aquarium sea turtle hospital cared for the ailing marine reptiles, administering antibiotics and feeding them a special diet to bring them back to optimum health. On May 23, Manteo and Taylor, along with two juvenile green and one Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, were released into the wild on Isle of Palms.
Another loggerhead, Briar—that was named after the area in Myrtle Beach where the then-barely alive young adult was found—was brought to the aquarium team last month. Her heart rate was only six beats per minute, but consistent and supportive care in an out-of-the-way tank for five days helped her make it through the roughest part of rehab. This emaciated and barnacle-covered sea turtle is in good hands and should return back into the sea in the near future. Briar, Manteo, and Taylor are three lucky loggerheads that get another chance at life thanks to all those involved.
To read the feature “Return of the Ancient Mariner,” click here.
To read novelist Mary Alice Monroe’s essay “My Life as a Turtle Lady,” click here.
Sign up to win this week’s giveaway: four general admission tickets to the South Carolina Aquarium plus a tour of the sea turtle hospital. To enter, click here.