Rescued Florida sea turtle headed for Las Vegas casino "retirement"

MIAMI Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:04am EDT

Staff at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital scrub down OD, a 320-pound green sea turtle, to remove algae in Marathon, Florida, July 24, 2013 in this handout provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau. REUTERS/Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/Handout via Reuters

Staff at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital scrub down OD, a 320-pound green sea turtle, to remove algae in Marathon, Florida, July 24, 2013 in this handout provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau.

Credit: Reuters/Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/Handout via Reuters

MIAMI (Reuters) - An ailing 320-pound, green sea turtle, believed to be about 50 years old, was packed in a customized FedEx crate to be shipped to Las Vegas on Thursday to give it a better home at a luxury casino.

The turtle, named OD, after a dive charter boat that rescued it in 2008, has been cared for at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital for almost five years. It cannot be released due to an irreparable collapsed lung that left it floating on its side.

Officials at the Turtle Hospital decided OD needed a better home with a larger and more stimulating environment.

The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas offered to give OD a home for his "retirement" at its 1.6-million-gallon aquarium which already houses several sea turtles.

"He's ready now for a forever home ... where he can live out his life," said Turtle Hospital Manager Bette Zirkelbach.

FedEx is providing free air transportation for OD for the 2,400-mile trip to Las Vegas in a specially moisturized and foam-padded crate, accompanied by Zirkelbach and Turtle Hospital founder Richie Moretti.

(Writing by David Adams; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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Comments (1)
oldtimer78 wrote:
If OD has a collapsed lung which leaves him swimming on his side, has he been fitted with an artificial flotation device to keep him on an even keel while swimming?

Turtles spend a lot of time swimming so unless this has been done, he cannot enjoy a normal life. Nor could he interact with other sea-turtles.

I imagine that with only one lung working, he will have to come to the surface more frequently in order to breathe.

A pity the article did not tell us whether such a device has been given him.

Jul 25, 2013 1:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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