LAS VEGAS (Oct. 7, 2013) – Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay welcomes OD the sea turtle, its newest family member, following a cross-country journey to Las Vegas that grabbed heartstrings and headlines nationwide. After a standard quarantine period, the estimated 50-year-old, 320-pound rescued sea turtle was officially put on display in the 1.3-million gallon Shipwreck Exhibit at Shark Reef Aquarium this morning.
For additional video and high-resolution images of OD’s journey, please click here. All photos and video are courtesy of Darrin Bush/Las Vegas News Bureau.
“Shark Reef Aquarium guests can visit OD while learning about the turtle’s wild habitat and the impacts humans have on endangered green sea turtles,” said Adrienne Rowland, director of Shark Reef Aquarium. “We are honored to offer OD a permanent home and are committed to creating an enriching environment for his continued health.”
OD was first found in 1999 near Atlantic Beach, North Carolina with a lung infection. After recovering, he was tagged and released back into the ocean. In 2008, the tagged turtle was found floating near French Reef in the Florida Keys where he was treated at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital. Due to a collapsed lung, OD was unable to be rereleased and needed a permanent home.
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay offered OD a home inside the Shipwreck Exhibit where he joined two additional green sea turtles and 22 other species including sharks, rays, fish and more. OD flew from the Florida Keys to Las Vegas courtesy of FedEx on July 25. Upon arrival at Shark Reef Aquarium, OD was taken to the dedicated animal quarantine facility, a standard industry procedure for new animals.
Jack Jewell, Shark Reef Aquarium’s general curator said, “OD’s well-being came first. The quarantine process ensured that he acclimated to his new home. He was under the care of our aquarist and veterinary teams who prepared him for a long future at Shark Reef Aquarium.”
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is among the most prestigious animal facilities in the world and is the first and only Nevada institution accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the most respected industry organization in the world. More than 2,000 animals are displayed at Shark Reef Aquarium, featuring 100 species, including 15 species of sharks. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit mandalaybay.com, sharkreef.com, call (702) 632-4555 or follow Shark Reef on Facebook and Twitter.