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      Sea Turtle Rescue Program reaches new milestone

      Gumby is the 100th sea turtle rehabilitated and released from the program

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - The Sea Turtle Rescue Program reached a milestone by rehabilitating and releasing the 100th sea turtle since the program began.

      The 50-poung loggerhead, Gumby, spent a year and half in the facility.{} Gumby was rescued on Kiawah Island, June 26, 2011, where he suffered from a very severe metabolic bone disease.

      "When he arrived, his bones were very susceptible to pathological fratures. Basically, they weren't very well calcified - very soft, so we had to give him daily calcium injections and sun him outside everyday for months to allow his body to recalicify, remineralize the bones in his body," said Christi Hughes, a sea turtle biologist at the rescue.

      The loggerhead is a threatened species in the Southeast.{} The successful recovery for Gumby is a milestone for the loggerhead species and the Sea Turtle Rescue Program at the South Carolina Aquarium.

      "It was a really exciting change to watch, progression. Really a totally different turtle once he was finished with his rehabilitation.{} He grew from six pounds, very small, I could hold him in the palm of my hand when he arrived, to about 50 pounds when he left our facility yesterday. So just an amazing transformation from a sick turtle to one that's just thriving and healthy," said Hughes.

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