- Created on Monday, 14 October 2013 00:00
In late September Gabi the loggerhead sea turtle flew from the Georgia Sea Turtle center into the Salt Lake Airport to make the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium her new home.
Age: about 5 years old- it's hard to know an exact age since she was rescued from the wild, but this is a very close estimate.
Health diagnosis: Gabi had some spinal deformities and bubble butt from injuries. While these prohibit her from being reintroduced into the wild she is still very healthy and expected to live a long life here at the aquarium.
Her rescue: Gabi was found off the coast of Florida in October 2008 tangled up in a clump of seaweed. She was brought to the Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island in Georgia where she was examined by a turtle specialist. She was found to be emaciated with lesions and with exposed bone on her shell. Her wounds were treated and she was given fluids and a feeding tube and she healed with about a month of treatment.
After she healed she was moved to Sandy Creek Nature Center in Athens, Georgia where she was on display for educational purposes. In August of 2011 she was re-evaluated to see if she was a good candidate for release and the specialists found that her buoyancy was still off, causing her bottom half to be more buoyant than the rest of her body and even with weight therapy she was not a proper candidate for release.
Because Loggerhead Sea Turtles are endangered only rescued turtles that can't be released into the wild are available to aquariums where they are ambassadors for other sea turtles to encourage education and conservancy.
“The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is extremely excited to bring an endangered loggerhead sea turtle to our facility,” said Eleasha Grossman, associate director of education at the aquarium. “Gabi will be a wonderful addition for our field trip guests, our on-site programming and our special events. Loggerheads are great spotlight animal for our conservation efforts and public awareness pieces. Sea turtles are beautiful animals with remarkable life cycles that help our desert guests care about the oceans with one swim past their delighted eyes.”
Gabi has been here for several weeks now and is settling in nicely. She will continue to thrive in the new Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper. Brian Marquez, a member of our husbandry team, has been caring for Gabi since she arrived. “She likes people. Every morning when I walk up to her pool she swims over and checks me out. Mostly she’s begging for food but she’s definitely curious and wants to see what’s going on.”
In Utah we can do our part to help protect endangered sea turtles like Gabi by protecting our environment. A lot of trash ends up in the ocean and turtles can mistake it for food- so by making sure we’re not littering and that we recycle whenever possible we can help keep sea turtles healthy- even in the desert.