The South Carolina Aquarium Thursday released a 120-pound loggerhead sea turtle back into the wild.
The turtle, nicknamed "Botany," had been rehabilitated through the aquarium's Sea Turtle Rescue Program. Aquarium staff said Botany is a juvenile turtle that had been found in May by the state's Department of Natural Resources during a research trip off the South Carolina coast. SCDNR personnel transferred the turtle to the program for treatment.
Staffers say Botany was in poor physical condition when it was brought in. It was emaciated, lethargic and had poor internal bloodwork, according to aquarium spokesperson Kate Dittloff. Botany was treated with fluids, antibiotics and vitamin injections, in addition to a healthy diet.
Botany was released at the Isle of Palms County Park with a crowd of about 100 people looking on.
Dittloff said the turtle quickly crawled to the water's edge and took off once it hit the water.
Loggerhead sea turtles are considered a threatened species, Dittloff said.
"It is critical to get sea turtles back into the wild because all seven species are either endangered or threatened," she said in a statement.
The South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program is the only sea turtle rescue program in the state of South Carolina and has successfully treated and released 177 sea turtles.