South Carolina Aquarium Celebrates Milestone by Releasing 400th Sea Turtle


10 Juvenile Sea Turtles Released by the Aquarium After Months of Rehabilitation

Earlier this month, the South Carolina Aquarium proudly released its 400th rehabilitated sea turtle. Jim — a juvenile green sea turtle named in memory of a beloved Aquarium colleague who passed away last year — was joined by nine other sea turtles completing their own journey home from Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville, Florida.

With a humble start that began because of a need to help a sick and injured loggerhead named Stinky, the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center™ has flourished beyond just a working hospital and into a powerful conduit for conservation awareness and action.

“There are so many emotions we experience with each sea turtle release: pride for their successful rehabilitation, adoration for the impact they had on us and hope for their journey that lies ahead. A bittersweet feeling settled in with this release, as we remembered the colleague who this turtle was named after,” says Melissa Ranly, Sea Turtle Care Center manager. “Jim had been at the Aquarium since our 30th sea turtle release 16 years ago, sustaining the critical life support systems for our sea turtle patients and always lending a helping hand. We’re grateful that we could honor his dedication to our mission through this release.”

This release group comprised the three most common species seen by the South Carolina Aquarium — green, Kemp's ridley and loggerhead sea turtles — all of which are threatened or endangered.

Among the greens were Asiago, Jim, Waterloo, Burrata and Java (named in support of Charleston Coffee Roasters), all of whom were rescued along the South Carolina coast dealing with a variety of ailments from boat strikes to predator bites. Followed were two Kemp's ridleys that were initially caught on hook and line, Cheddar and Manchego. The release culminated with three juvenile loggerhead sea turtles — Monterey Jack, Romano

and Fontina — that had been transported from the New England Aquarium after exposure to cold water temperatures in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

“Releasing each and every rehabilitated sea turtle is cause for celebration,” Ranly reiterates. “But a milestone like this reminds us to reflect on those who helped us get to this point: the state agencies, supporters, sea turtle enthusiasts and more who believe in us and our mission to save sea turtles.”

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About the South Carolina Aquarium: The South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston's No.1 family attraction, is home to more than 5,000 animals, from river otters and sharks to sea turtles and shorebirds, and represents the rich biodiversity of our state — from the mountains to the sea. Visitors can also get an inside look at the Sea Turtle Care Center™, a working hospital dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of sick and injured sea turtles. While fulfilling its mission to promote education, conservation, and an exceptional visitor experience, the Aquarium also presents sweeping views of the Charleston Harbor along with interactive exhibits and programs for visitors of all ages.

The South Carolina Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Aquarium is open daily from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., with the last entry at 3:30 p.m. The Aquarium is open seven days a week with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, December 25 and a half day on December 24 (open 9 a.m.–noon). Annual Aquarium membership with unlimited visits starts at $99. For more information, call (843) 577-FISH (3474) or visit

All sea turtle conservation work is authorized by the SC Department of Natural Resources Marine Turtle Permit No. 2024-0004.