Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 19, 2014

Sea turtle lands in Dubuque

Jun 20, 2014

DUBUQUE (AP) — A young green sea turtle found injured in Georgia last year has a new home in eastern Iowa, following three plane rides and nearly 1,200 miles of travel.

The rescued creature arrived Thursday at Dubuque’s National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, the Telegraph Herald reported. It will be in a quarantined holding tank for at least 30 days before it lands in an exhibit.

“Sea turtles are very charismatic animals. They are big animals and are not scared of people,” said Andy Allison, the museum’s director of living collections. “This will give people a chance to see one up close.”

The turtle was found in 2013 on Little Cumberland Island in Georgia with significant damage to its shell, according to museum officials. Examiners determined the turtle had damage to its spinal cord that was likely due to a boat strike.

“It cannot fully submerge, but it can still use its front flippers and move around pretty well,” Allison said of the turtle’s partial paralysis in its rear flippers.

Museum aquarist Ben Houghton traveled with the turtle Thursday from Jekyll Island, Georgia, to Atlanta. The next flight was to Ohio, before a final plane ride to Dubuque.

The turtle currently weighs about 20 pounds but could grow to 400 pounds.

“I think this will send a great conservation message to Dubuque,” Houghton said.

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