MARATHON, Fla. (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A large sea turtle is back home in Texas. The turtle known as “Matthew” — named for one of her rescuers before her sex was determined — was hurt when a boat hit her last year.
The loggerhead sea turtle was rehabilitated at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital and flown by private plane Sunday to live at a conservation facility in Texas.READ MORE: Nigerian National Sobanke Idris Sunday Adereti Guilty Of Elder Fraud Related Violations
The 230-pound female turtle took the nearly five-hour flight from the Middle Keys to South Padre Island with the help of “Turtles Fly Too,” a nonprofit group that works with general aviation pilots who donate their aircraft, fuel and time to provide emergency transport for endangered species.
Matthew suffered injuries to her shell in May 2020 from a boat strike that left her unable to dive and forage for food — a condition termed “bubble butt syndrome” by the hospital’s rehabilitation staff.
“She’s being transported to Sea Turtle Inc. in South Padre Island because she’s unable to dive,” said Bette Zirkelbach, the Turtle Hospital’s general manager, who accompanied the reptile during the flight. “That makes her non-releasable and she will act as an ambassador for her species there at the Texas facility where they see lots of visitors.”READ MORE: Woman Hit, Killed By Car While Walking In Grapevine Roadway; Drunk Driver Crashes Into Firetruck On Scene Say Police
The reptile joins other rehabilitated, non-releasable turtle patients at Sea Turtle Inc., located on the Gulf of Mexico. The organization’s conservation outreach programs are designed to raise public awareness about sea turtles and the threats to their survival.
Although the goal for the Keys’ Turtle Hospital is for every rescued sea turtle to successfully rehabilitate and return to its ocean home, it is not likely Matthew could survive in the wild due to the positive buoyancy disorder.
Matthew’s carapace has been fitted with weights, fashioned to adhere to the shell and help the turtle submerge and rest comfortably during her residency at the Texas center.MORE NEWS: Report: At Least 59,000 Meat Workers Caught COVID, 269 Died
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