Top 10 Best Sea Turtle Hospitals in the United States

Author Natalie Pope / Ocean & Company Blog / Published: June-14-2022

Of the seven species of sea turtles, five are endangered and three are critically endangered. The World Wildlife Fund focuses its efforts on protecting the following species:

  • Loggerhead Turtle
  • Hawksbill Turtle
  • Leatherback Turtle
  • Green Turtle
  • Olive Ridley Turtle

Sea turtles spend the majority of their life migrating through the sea, but the turtles have fallen victim to being hunted for 200 years, the effects of climate change, and pollution.

To help save the sea turtles, it is crucial for us to consciously make efforts to find ways to support and protect the animals.

One of the ways to care for sea turtles is through rescue, rehabilitation, and release. These are 3 of the biggest goals amongst sea turtle hospitals. Sea turtle hospitals care for endangered animals while also finding ways to support conservation and promote awareness.

In no particular order, we are going to be discussing the top 10 sea turtle hospitals in the United States.

JEKYLL ISLAND, GA

As Georgia’s only sea turtle education and rehabilitation center, the Center hosts indoor and outdoor interaction and enriching activities year-round.

One of the main ways to support the center’s mission of restoring balance in the oceanic ecosystem is by becoming a member. With discounts on events and merchandise paired with free admission, you can help support the GSTC in their research and rehabilitation efforts.

The center is a fun experience that will also help support the endangered sea turtle population.

MARATHON, FL

Dating back to 1986, the Turtle Hospital had four goals:

1) Rehab injured sea turtles and release them back to their natural habitat.

2) Educate the public by visiting local schools and attending outreach programs.

3) Conducting and assisting with research aiding sea turtles (in collaboration with state universities).

4) Working toward environmental legislation making the beaches and water safe for sea turtles.

The Turtle Hospital is a charitable organization that is proud to house up-to-date technologies that allow them to perform surgeries on different species of turtles. To accompany the hospital, the Hidden Harbor Motel acts as a space to house and care for turtles in need.

The Turtle Hospital leads guided educational tours and also informs the public of hotlines for sea turtles in need.

If you are interested in supporting The Turtle Hospital, you can adopt a sea turtle, donate, or purchase a membership. Membership levels vary in price, but they offer promotions such as discounts, merchandise, unlimited visits, and more!

GAINESVILLE, FL

The Whitney Laboratory is the University of Florida’s laboratory for marine bioscience research and conservation. The Whitney Laboratory leads a research initiative in the conservation of sea turtles. The Sea Turtle Hospital opened in 2015 and has since taken in 446 juvenile sea turtles.

This sea turtle hospital services the many turtles in need within Northeast Florida. They have been permitted to also take care of turtles with fibropapilloma (FP) virus, which is the most significant infectious disease among sea turtles.

If you are interested in learning more about the specific turtle patients, you may do so through their website. The Whitney Laboratory ensures care and compassion toward every turtle in need. 

In addition to their immense research, education is one of the laboratory’s cornerstones. The facility offers both school and community programs to spread awareness about the work happening within the Sea Turtle Hospital.

As Georgia’s only sea turtle education and rehabilitation center, the Center hosts indoor and outdoor interaction and enriching activities year-round.

One of the main ways to support the center’s mission of restoring balance in the oceanic ecosystem is by becoming a member. With discounts on events and merchandise paired with free admission, you can help support the GSTC in their research and rehabilitation efforts.

The center is a fun experience that will also help support the endangered sea turtle population.

CHARLOTTE, NC

The South Carolina Aquarium holds a Sea Turtle Care Center that works to protect turtle populations against injury and disease. Some of the injuries and illnesses that the Center treats are:

  • Debilitated turtle syndrome
  • Predation and boat strike wounds
  • Injuries from accidental interactions with fishing gear
  • Exposure to dangerously low temperatures

Once a patient is treated, the turtle is released back into its home in hopes that it will reproduce to help increase the species’ population.

To inspire protectors and educate the public, the rehabilitation process is made visible to the public through viewing stations and interactive stations.

You can donate by adopting a sea turtle or directly donating items needed through the Center’s amazon wishlist.

BOCA RATON, FL

The Center works to provide education for the public regarding nesting. They also host Turtle Walks and Hatchling Release programs to allow patrons to view the sea turtle's close-up and in their natural habitat.

The Center also houses a rehabilitation facility where they provide surgeries and treatments for sea turtles in need. To take care of strandings and turtles in need, the center has a 24-hour hotline for sea turtle rescue.

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, TX

Sea Turtle, Inc. originated with Ila Loetscher, a female pilot, who saw a need for the rescue and rehabilitation of sea turtles. She cared for many turtles inside her own home. After attracting many curious visitors, Ila formed Sea Turtle, Inc. in 1977 to share her passion for turtles with many guests and volunteers.

Sea Turtle, Inc opened a $6 million educational facility that has seen thousands of visitors each year. The facility also provides virtual learning and lesson plans to continue the education of sea turtles of all ages.

The center is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations and gift shop proceeds. Sea Turtle, Inc. has been recognized on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and The Late Show with David Letterman for their exceptional care and compassion.

The facility is eager to raise money in hopes of rebuilding to better support the influx of sea turtles in need.

JUNO BEACH, FL

With the Center being right off the ocean, the LMC has been able to treat nearly 100 sea turtles and 1,000 hatchlings. The organization tracks sea turtle nesting totals off of some Flordia beaches and offers a Live TurtleCam whenever a turtle is in the hospital.

The Center not only works with local sea turtle conservation, but also plays a key role in worldwide ocean conservation. Sustainability and conservation are high priorities of the LMC to ensure balance in the ecosystem.

The nonprofit organization also hosts many experiences and events to increase involvement and awareness in the public surrounding sea turtle and ocean conservation.

BRIGATINE, NJ

The MMSC is the only federally-authorized animal hospital in New Jersey. This hospital focuses on stranding, which is the state of sea animals either dead or alive and unable to return to the water. The Center has taken care of over 5,000 strandings and services the whole 1,800-mile coastline of New Jersey!

The MMSC services a variety of animals in their facilities. You can explore their buildings and procedures through a virtual tour. The MMSC also owns rescue equipment such as boats and transport vehicles to take care of all animals: big or small.

SURF CITY, NC

Located in North Carolina, the KBSTRRC started as a small group of volunteers in 1996 known as the Topsail Turtle project. Through love and compassion, the group cared for a sea turtle named Lucky.

After helping Lucky, the group saw the need for a rescue and rehabilitation center in North Carolina. In 2013, the project expanded into the 13,000+ square foot facility known as the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.

ABSTRACT is a nonprofit organization that emphasizes the conservation of the species and also preservation in the water and on land. Visitors are welcome, and proceeds from tickets help fund turtle food and medicine.

If you are interested in visiting the KBSTRRC, you can see patients and also learn about the process behind their process of rescuing and rehabilitating animals.

SARASOTA, FL

Providing care for multiple animals, the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium has a Sea Turtle Aquarium that has cared for more than 650 turtles. The center emphasizes research in addition to its rehabilitation efforts. The hospital is one of the few permitted to take care of turtles with fibropapilloma tumors in a separate facility.

After receiving a grant from the Sea Turtle Grants Program, the facility works to provide the best care for its patients.

Grants are funded through proceeds from a Florida license plate and all money raised goes towards research, conservation, and education for sea turtles.


SUMMARY

The effects of climate change, poaching, and pollution do not go unnoticed. Sea turtles often fall victim to these effects and all species have been named endangered or threatened. To keep these beautiful creatures alive and ensure balance in our ecosystem, you must take steps to help support these marine animals.

Ocean & Company works to save the oceans and marine life through high-quality jewelry. By purchasing a Sea Turtle Tracking Bracelet, you can track a sea turtle and proceeds will be donated to Mote Marine Laboratory to help aid in oceanic research and conservation.

Ocean & Company also offers biodegradable phone cases, bags, apparel, and more!

Stand by Ocean & Company and the Sea Turtle Hospitals of the United States to help make a change and ensure that sea turtles have a long stay on our planet.



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