FOLLY BEACH - Three more rehabilitated sea turtles are headed back to the ocean.
Two loggerheads and a rare Kemp's ridley turtle are scheduled to be released 11 a.m. Friday at Folly Beach County Park. The releases have become popular events, with lines of people cheering the turtles on as they crawl to the surf. Onlookers should plan to carpool, arrive early, and expect to pay for parking at the county park.
The turtles were treated by the South Carolina Aquarium's rescue program after the Kemp's ridley inadvertently was caught on hook and line by an angler, one of the loggerheads was found sick and the other was stung by a sting ray.
Each of the seven sea turtle species are considered threatened or endangered. Hunted for food or eggs, struck by boats, hung in nets, the animals have been in a long decline.
With nesting protection and other conservation efforts like the one led by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, biologists think the loggerhead at least might be turning the corner on recovery.
The release takes place in partnership with the DNR and Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission.