Meet Aardvark, a resilient, young green sea turtle.
Aardvark — who is too young for experts to determine its sex — was found washed up on shore in Hog Inlet in North Myrtle Beach. Aardvark is now at the S.C. Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Care Center in downtown Charleston. The turtle is undergoing treatment and recuperating at the center’s Sea Turtle Hospital, located in the basement of the aquarium.
“It is unknown why he or she stranded, but Aardvark has passed plastic marine debris since being admitted,” the aquarium said in a statement.
The aquarium’s sea turtle work involves rescuing and rehabilitating sea turtles; many of the sea turtle patients have ingested pieces of plastic or plastic bags while swimming in the ocean. Staff has recovered more than 150 pieces of debris from rescued turtles, noting that the amount of plastic found in turtles has increased each year.
The aquarium currently has 18 sea turtles in its hospital. Staff and volunteers work to release healthy, recovered sea turtles back onto area beaches. The aquarium has released 274 turtles back into the wild to date.
“We are so happy and moved to see Aardvark’s health progressing since he was found stranded on the beach,” said Stephanie Gabosch, the aquarium’s strategic partnerships officer, in a statement.
The turtle is named for Aardvark Straws, which began producing paper straws in 2007 to help combat the amount of plastic debris in the oceans, which harm marine animals. The company has donated $12,500 to the aquarium.
“Given Aardvark Straws’ support of our aquarium and sea turtle care center over the last several years, we wanted to recognize the company with something we thought would be near and dear to their hearts,” Gabosch said in a statement. “We are proud to honor our close friends and supporters by naming our latest sea turtle survivor Aardvark.”
With World Sea Turtle Day approaching on June 16, we thought of a few ways we could celebrate our hard-shelled friends of the sea: (Add your own suggestions in the comments.)
- Tour the Sea Turtle Care Center and learn more about the conservation and rehabilitation work happening at the aquarium.
- Swap out plastic straws for paper, steel or glass versions, among other options.
- Trade single-use plastic bottles for a reusable version.
- Clean up the beach after enjoying a day in the sun.
Aardvark and friends will thank you.