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Turtle gets prosthetic flippers

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 01:30

Feb. 19 - A Japanese aquarium fights to get a 25-year-old loggerhead turtle swimming again, after a shark attack left her front fins torn to shreds five years ago. Tara Cleary reports.

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Yu the loggerhead turtle gets a second chance. Five years ago, she was attacked by sharks and critically wounded -- her front flippers torn almost to stubs. That's when a Japanese aquarium stepped in. Curator Naoki Kamezaki assembled a research team to try and get Yu swimming again. They came up with rubber flippers, held together with wet suit fabric. But it's not been easy: now on pair number 27 and almost five years later, Yu's flippers still fall off in the water. SOUNDBITE: Naoki Kamezaki, Director general of Suma Aqualife Park, saying (Japanese): "There have been times I wanted to give up and just fix her up the best we can and throw her back in. Then if luck's on her side she'll be fine; if not, she'll get eaten and that's just life. That would be the way of nature, I suppose." Even though Yu is severley restricted Kamezaki hopes her rubber flippers may enable her to breed. SOUNDBITE: Naoki Kamezaki, Director general of Suma Aqualife Park, saying (Japanese): "My dream for her is that one day she can use her prosthetic fins to swim to the surface, walk about and dig a proper hole to lay her eggs in. When her children hatch, well, I just feel that would make all the trauma in her life worthwhile." Pacific loggerhead numbers have reportedly declined by 80 percent over the last decade - making Yu's instinctual need to swim, small yet significant progress.

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Turtle gets prosthetic flippers

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 01:30