Neptune, a juvenile male green sea turtle rescued from Jacksonville, Fla. Neptune is the only sea turtle living in inland North Carolina.
In 2012, Neptune was found stranded on Atlantic Beach in Florida and brought to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island. Suffering many injuries, he has had a long road to recovery and is no longer able to survive on his own in the ocean. Injuries include a healed shell fracture, buoyancy issues, lesions and partial paralysis in the rear flippers. Also, a victim of marine debris, Neptune consumed bits of plastic garbage in the Atlantic that he was fortunately able to pass at the rescue center.
Neptune suffers from a healed fracture to the tail region of his upper shell, which may have been caused by a boat propeller. Although he can use his rear flippers in the water, he has damaged vertebra, causing partial rear paralysis. Additionally, visitors will notice a weight pouch strapped to Neptune’s back; this is a form of weight therapy and assists with his hind end buoyancy issues, allowing him to dive for food.
“Welcoming Neptune to SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord is a huge honor for us—one we’ve waited on for quite a while,” says Dalia Goldgor, General Manager at SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord. “Neptune is a fighter and an inspirational sea creature. We are excited to have the opportunity to provide him with a forever home.”
Neptune’s journey to SEA LIFE is a part of the aquarium’s “Breed, Rescue, Protect” conservation program. SEA LIFE is passionate about preserving marine heritage for future generations and encourages guests to join them in protecting marine life. SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord plays an active role in the campaign. In addition to Neptune’s rescue, so far they have successfully bred southern stingrays, became a temporary home for cold-stunned green sea turtles and participated in Catawba River clean-ups.
Currently over 15 pounds, Neptune is healthy and growing. An endangered species, green sea turtles are among the largest sea turtles in the world and can reach up to 700 pounds when fully mature. Visitors can see Neptune in the Ocean Tank at the aquarium.