Zazu | South Carolina Aquarium


Jan 21


Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Stranding Location: Caper’s Inlet, near Deewee’s Island, SC

Arrival Date: 1/7/2019

Age: Juvenile

Weight: 1.98 kg (4.3 lbs)

Case History

This teeny tiny green sea turtle was found floating in Caper’s Inlet by Captain Lee Taylor. Captain Lee Taylor, who also found Fawkes, another current patient, was not new to recognizing distressed turtles. Cap’n Taylor quickly called the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and boated this little turtle to Isle of Palms Marina. He was then picked up by SCDNR volunteer Mary Pringle and transported the rest of the way to the South Carolina Aquarium.


At admit, Zazu was very lethargic, had a body temperature of around 60°F and had a missing left eye. Though vet staff wasn’t sure what trauma caused the eye injury, it had completely healed up. Zazu’s bloodwork was within normal limits, so he received fluids, vitamins and was started on antibiotics. Radiographs showed that one of the lungs might have the start of pneumonia, but looked otherwise clear. After admit, Zazu was placed in a foam-padded bin in room that was set to a lower temperature so that Zazu’s body temperature could be slowly increased overnight. Zazu is the first patient of 2019 and was named using this year’s naming theme, The Lion King.


January 13, 2019: The day after admit, Zazu received a CT scan and was then placed in a very shallow water tank down in ICU. Zazu was offered fish and lettuce, and ate the fish immediately. Over the last few days, Zazu has been eating fish well, but has not yet taken a liking to veggies yet. Zazu is receiving antibiotic injections biweekly and once he defecates we will be able to increase his diet.

February 1, 2019: Since our last update, Zazu has continued to be on the up and up, but has passed several pieces of marine debris, or trash, including a piece of balloon, clear plastic sheets and grocery bag material. Zazu is the 23rd patient we’ve admitting who’s been affected by marine debris. We are monitoring his fecals closely to make sure nothing else comes through.

February 15, 2019: Since our last update, Zazu has passed a few more pieces of marine debris, including some small clear plastic pieces and some tarp-like material. Zazu continues to defecate normally, so we are hoping that we won’t find any more. We’ll continue to monitor her fecals for any foreign bodies. Zazu is no longer on antibiotics and is gaining weight and looking good. Way to go, Zazu!

March 1, 2019: Zazu has been moved into a tank in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery! You can now come visit Zazu and see his progress. Since our last update, Zazu has not passed any additional plastics or foreign bodies. Zazu is still a little thin, so we are continuing to closely monitor his weight and adjusting his diet accordingly.

March 15, 2019: Zazu has been loving life in his new temporary home in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery! Zazu has quickly become a guest favorite due to his size and interesting case story. He is getting pulled for weights and measurements to make sure we are feeding him enough but is otherwise looking healthy. Come visit Zazu today!

April 1, 2019: Zazu has been doing great! Turtles of his age, class, and size usually put their food energy into growth instead of weight, and so it can take some time for them to gain weight. Come say “hello” to Zazu today!

April 15, 2019: This one-eyed cutie continues to be on the up and up! Zazu spends most of his days zipping around his tank or using his carwash strips as camouflage. We will pull him for a weight check and exam in the next week to see how he’s progressing.

May 15, 2019: Zazu continues to thrive! He’s gained weight, and he’s grown a little! Come visit Zazu today!

June 15, 2019: Since our last update, Zazu was pulled for a pre-release exam, and P.I.T (passive integrated transponder) placement. We are waiting on bloodwork, but if all goes well, he could be a release candidate in the near future! We moved Zazu back into the ICU and he is now in a divided tank with 2 other little greens. Stay tuned for release updates!

June 17, 2019: Zazu was released today, along with fellow green sea turtle, Mufasa. Bon voyage, little guys!

Release Date

June 17, 2019

Release Location

Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge

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