About Our Program

All seven species of sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered. This is a reflection of the growing issues surrounding coastal development and ocean conservation. To help ensure that sea turtles have a future in our oceans, the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center™ aids sick and injured sea turtles in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).

The Sea Turtle Care Center™ has rescued, rehabilitated and released more than 200 sea turtles, and the Aquarium has positioned itself to become a worldwide leader in sea turtle rehabilitation and conservation. This fall we will break ground on Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™, a state-of-the-art sea turtle hospital on the main floor so that every guest can observe the care and rehabilitation of these threatened and endangered species; increasing our capacity to care for more sea turtles and educate more guests on sea turtle conservation.

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Rehabilitated and Released

When a sea turtle is found stranded or injured, SCDNR brings the animal to the Sea Turtle Hospital for treatment. Sea turtles arrive at the hospital most commonly suffering from bacterial or fungal infections, shock from being exposed to cold temperatures, or injury from a boat strike or shark bite. Our staff veterinarian diagnoses each turtle and works with hospital staff and volunteers to provide treatments and rehabilitative care. Patients are given IV fluids, antibiotics, vitamins, and other medications. Based on the sea turtle’s condition, a variety of procedures may be performed, such as x-rays or ultrasounds. Rehabilitated sea turtles are released to hopefully become reproductive members of the sea turtle population.

Dr. Shane Boylan

McNair Family Chief Veterinarian

McNair Center for Sea Turtle Conservation and Research

With Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™, we’ve done everything to ensure that we provide the best care for sea turtles while they’re at the Aquarium, but we know their journey doesn’t end here. That’s why we’ve also committed ourselves to protecting sea turtles worldwide through the work of the McNair Center for Sea Turtle Conservation and Research.

The new McNair Center will serve as the Aquarium’s in-house research facility especially for sea turtle knowledge. We’ll take what we’ve learned from 16 years of patient injuries and illnesses, and present it to the scientific community so that researchers all over the world can benefit.

Your Support is Vital to Sea Turtle Survival

The odds of a sea turtle hatchling surviving long enough to reach reproductive maturity is slim due to natural and human threats. Human impacts have seriously depleted sea turtle populations to the point where we are in danger of losing some species forever.

The Sea Turtle Hospital provides a place for sick and injured sea turtles to receive care, treatment and medicines. With your support, we can continue efforts to sustain these species into the next century and beyond.

Turtle Teams Making a Difference

The most common sea turtle found along the South Carolina coast, and also the state reptile, is the loggerhead sea turtle. Under management by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Marine Turtle Conservation Program, more than 20 turtle teams identify and protect sea turtle nests. The teams are composed of volunteers who conduct nest inventories and assist when stranded sea turtles are found.

To report a stranded sea turtle, please call the SCDNR Hotline: (800) 922-5431

Contact our Sea Turtle Care Center™ Staff.