After being in SeaWorld San Diego’s care undergoing life-saving medical treatment since Jan. 25, 2011, Bruce the Pacific green sea turtle was returned to San Diego Bay last week.
In late January, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrative (NOAA) officials found the adult male turtle in San Diego’s South Bay lethargic and breathing slowly. They then brought him to SeaWorld weighing 250 pounds, with gunshot wounds in his neck, dehydrated and suffering from lacerations and a crack in his underside. SeaWorld aquarists, animal care specialists and veterinarians treated Bruce with antibiotics, pain medication and rehydration fluids.
Now at 300 pounds, Bruce is robust, and able to forage on his own! Prior to the return, research scientists from NOAA outfitted Bruce with an acoustic transmitter that replaces the one Bruce had at the time of his rescue. They hope to monitor and track his movements in San Diego Bay and believe the threatened species will stay in the area.
A student and teacher from Ben Hulse Elementary School in Imperial, Calif. — grand prize winners of the SeaWorld Sea Turtle Essay Contest for third and fourth grade classes in Southern California this spring — assisted with the return. Jacob Sanchez wrote a creative and thoughtful essay on sea turtles’ natural history that included a way to help save sea turtles. Our park’s essay contest was designed to bring awareness to the preservation of sea turtles and limit the environmental dangers they face.
We will miss Bruce but are glad we got to help return him to the ocean and bring awareness about threatened and endangered sea turtles at the same time. Check out the video below of how we prepared Bruce for his return to the bay.