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Rescued Sea Turtle Returns To San Diego Bay

Mike Aguilera / SeaWorld San Diego
Dr. Jeff Seminoff, National Marine Fisheries Service marine turtle research program leader, assists Salty, the green sea turtle, back into San Diego Bay after a month of rehabilitation at SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue Center.

An Eastern Pacific green sea turtle rescued from a saltwater evaporation pond in South San Diego Bay was back Wednesday in his natural habitat in the bay, SeaWorld San Diego said.

The 40- to 50-year-old sea turtle was extremely lethargic and exhibited physical signs of severe dehydration — sunken eyes and a sunken body chamber near his shell — when discovered on July 6.

"Salty" also did not demonstrate normal behavior expected of an adult sea turtle, SeaWorld said.


Park veterinarians and animal care staff gave him electrolyte fluids and vitamins and let him rehabilitate for a month in a warm-water rehabilitation pool. SeaWorld reported that he gained around 40 pounds — to nearly 300 pounds — and was deemed healthy enough to be returned back to the south end of the bay Tuesday.

SeaWorld San Diego said it is the only zoological facility on the U.S. West Coast capable of providing long-term rehabilitative care to rescued sea turtles. Green sea turtles are a threatened species in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

So far this year, SeaWorld San Diego has come to the aid of more than 410 marine mammals, more than 200 marine birds and five sea turtles.