A loggerhead sea turtle found stranded on Myrtle Beach in May, 2013, has fully recovered and will be released on Tuesday, according to Charleston County leaders.
The 182-pound adult female turtle, nicknamed Briar, received a clean bill of health this week after being under care for the last 13 months in the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program.
Briar had been found emaciated and severely anemic with poor vital signs and covered in barnacles, according to aquarium spokesperson Kate Dittloff.
When admitted to the aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital, veterinarians deemed her prognosis questionable, with some staffers saying the arrived at work each morning with their fingers crossed that Briar had made it through the night, Dittloff said.
Within six months, however, Briar had improved, gaining more than 50 pound and responding well to medication.
But another complication emerged: the staff noticed the turtle was having trouble finding its food and discovered she had developed cataracts that threatened blindness.
After a rare surgical procedure to remove the turtle's damaged lenses, staffers noticed an almost immediate improvement in Briar's sight.
The public is invited to say goodbye to Briar on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at the Isle of Palms County Park. The release will be held in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the Charleston County parks and Recreation Commission.
Attendees should plan to carpool, arrive early and expect to pay for parking at the county park, Dittloff said.
Loggerhead sea turtles are considered an endangered species and was named the official state reptile of South Carolina.
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