CHARLESTON, S.C. (March 9, 2015) – For the first time in South Carolina, a live leatherback sea turtle washed ashore and was admitted to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Hospital. The turtle, found stranded on Yawkey South Island Reserve near Georgetown, S.C. Saturday, March 7, is one of the few live leatherback strandings reported in the United States.
The juvenile sea turtle, estimated to weigh 500 pounds, was transported by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) to the Aquarium to receive treatment. Upon admission the turtle, named Yawkey because of where s/he was rescued, was determined to be hypoglycemic. Yawkey displayed no signs of external trauma or any alarming bloodwork. Fluids were administered to the turtle to correct the hypoglycemia and antibiotics to combat possible internal infections.
The large turtle was later transferred to a holding pool and is under continuous observation. While the turtle may have an intestinal impaction or stranded due to being caught in a fishing net, supportive care is being provided and the root cause of the turtle’s stranding may never be identified. Due to the fact that leatherback sea turtles do poorly in a captive environment, Sea Turtle Hospital team members plan to release the animal back to the wild as soon as possible.
During the spring and fall seasons, leatherback sea turtles migrate through our coastal waters. Currently they can be found nesting off the Florida coast, a key reason Sea Turtle Hospital team members are eager to return Yawkey to warmer waters.
* 500-pound endangered leatherback sea turtle is now receiving treatment at the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program
* The first live stranding of a leatherback sea turtle in South Carolina
* The turtle, named Yawkey, is believed to be a juvenile, under 10 years old
* Leatherback sea turtles are listed as an endangered species
* Leatherback sea turtles are the largest turtles on earth
What can you do?:
You can help protect threatened and endangered sea turtles. If you find a sick or injured sea turtle, contact the SCDNR sea turtle hotline at (800) 922-5431. You may also help care for sea turtles in recovery in the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program by going to scaquarium.org to make a donation.
To read about our patients or track their recovery progress, visit our Sea Turtle Rescue Program blog. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates from the hospital, including public sea turtle release details.
For all media inquiries, please contact Kate Dittloff at (843) 579-8660 or [email protected]