CHARLOTTE, NC (WJZY) - SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium announced its newest resident Thursday, Neptune, a juvenile male green sea turtle rescued from Jacksonville, Florida.
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," said Dalia Goldgor, General Manager at SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord in a written statement, released on Thursday. "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.
Currently over 15 pounds, officials said 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.
To learn more about SEA LIFE's "Breed, Rescue, Protect" program and for ticket information, visit www.visitsealife.com/charlotte-concord.