By Elizabeth Dinh

GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) – The colorful characters swimming around the big, beautiful Sea Life Aquarium in Grapevine will soon welcome a couple new family members. Two sea turtles just arrived in Grapevine from an animal rescue group.

Curt Slocum is an aquarist at Sea Life. “It’s very exciting,” he said. “We can add two more turtles to our resident population here, so it’s great to have more turtles.”

The animals are members of an endangered species — Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. Both were injured years ago, as infants, when they were each about the size of a cookie. One turtle was hit by a boat, leaving it with two paralyzed back flippers and an indented shell. The other turtle had all but one of its flippers bitten off by some animal.

It is going to take some time before the duo can dive in with the other turtles.

Right now, the sea turtles are hanging out in a shallow wading pool until their muscles get stronger. To help them get acclimated, workers will bring up the water level, so they get used to swimming in deeper waters.

Aquarium workers are thrilled, because there is only one other sea turtle at Sea Life now. They are looking forward to learning from the new turtles, and watching the turtles learn some things, too. “They’re not used to seeing other fish. They’re not used to seeing other turtles,” Slocum said, “so it’ll be a learning experience for them as well.”

Staying at the aquarium means that the sea turtles will survive. Their injuries are so bad that they would likely die in the wild.

Once the two turtles get more comfortable, they will be ready to welcome visitors of all ages. “They’ll be great ambassadors for their species,” Slocum said. “We’ll be able to tell the guests about their experiences and what we can do to help protect sea turtles.”

Their story of survival will become a lesson that we can all learn.

The genders of the turtles are unknown, for now. Workers will be able to determine that information when their tails start to show. Also, the turtles do not have names yet. Sea Life plans to hold a contest to name the animals.

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