South Carolina’s only turtle hospital has seen a rise in the number of turtles they rescue, as they returned four turtles to the ocean this past weekend.”We’ve got Miss Murrell, we’ve got Deb, we’ve got Big Mama Pritchard, we’ve got Little Pritchard, we’ve got Kiawah.”
Dr. Shane Boylan, veterinarian at the South Carolina Aquarium’s turtle hospital on the Charleston Harbor lists off five of the nine turtles currently staying at the hospital. Ranging from a 10 pound Kemp Ridley to a 320 pound Loggerhead, these turtles are all named after the beaches they were found on. Last Sunday, four sea turtles were returned to the Atlantic Ocean and now Boylan is trying to rescue the remaining. Most of the turtles washed up on shore have experienced similar trauma.
“The majority of our cases that we got last year were hit by boat so that’s our big pattern; boat propellor hit the back of the shell, which is called the carapace (care-ah-piss). So you get severe blood loss and subsequent infection and due to the location of their lungs, they’re attached to the back of the top of the shell, the carapace a subsequent pneumonia is very likely and pneumonia is a very difficult disease to cure in these animals,” says Boylan.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is currently conducting an investigation to look into the turtle population.
“We’ve seen more turtles every year, we’ve got more in already this year than we have at this time last year or any of the years previous,” says Boylan.
Boylan says there is definitely more people on the water, causing these boating accidents, which could be the reason for the rise in number of turtles on the shore. DNR’s investigation will look at other options. Five of the nine sea turtles will be released from the hospital soon. The hospital will release them into the water of Charleston beaches.