Sea Turtle Second Chance Program

Sea Turtle Second Chance Program

Allen Sea Turtle 

In the summer of 2009, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium began participating in the Sea Turtle Second Chance program, with aquariums in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Volunteers from these aquariums monitor beaches along the coastline for any sea turtle strandings or egg laying activity.  They also check nests that have already been laid to ensure that they remain undisturbed.  However, if they believe a nesting site has been disturbed they excavate it so that the remaining sea turtle hatchlings can be rescued, rehabilitated and released.  The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium is a facility that is able to accept an injured sea turtle and care for him until he is healthy enough to be released back into the wild.  We are also able to care for any hatchlings that are unable to make it into the warm Gulf Stream waters and care for them until they are large and old enough to be released.

 The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium accepted two loggerhead sea turtles as the first participants in the Sea Turtle Second Chance program in December 2009.  The first turtle, “Smitty” called the zoo home for almost one year and was released back into the warm waters off Cape Hatteras, NC on November 14, 2010 at the age of two.November 2010 First Sea turtle release

The second participant, “L.C.,” was a sick hatchling when he arrived at the zoo.  He is responding very well to the care he is receiving and the zoo is hopeful that he will be returned to the wild when he is old enough and completely healthy.  Visitors can view “L.C.” in the aquarium quarantine building. 

Jen Lewis Sea Turtle REhab









Pepsi Refresh Grant

In August, 2010 the Pepsi Refresh Project created a special “Do Good for the Gulf” campaign soliciting grant applications from organizations around the country.  The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium was one of the winners of a $25,000 grant for the Sea Turtle Rescue project.  This grant allows the zoo to expand its sea turtle facilities in order to help Gulf facilities overwhelmed with the growing number of sea turtles affected by the giant oil spill.  The zoo will be able to take sea turtles not directly affected by the oil spill, but who still need care and rehabilitative support and provide a home for them, freeing up space and medical staff to concentrate on the more urgent care of sea turtles affected by the oil spill. 

 The new facility will include three six-foot tanks, a filtration system, food, tubs, and scales. Visitors will be able to see the turtles through the large viewing windows to the left of the PPG Aquarium entrance.  Through educational displays and meet-the-keeper sessions, visitors will also have the opportunity to learn about sea turtles and what impact they can have on their care and survival in the wild.