A VIP turtle that has spent nearly 40 years in captivity has been moved to a new home as part of a plan to return him to the wild.
Loggerhead Jorge – thought to be up to 72 years old – has become a legend at his zoo in the city of Mendoza in Argentina where he had spent the last 38 years.
Now he has been moved to the Marine Fauna Rehabilitation Centre Aquarium (CRFMA) in Mar del Plata, a resort city on Argentina’s Atlantic coast.
Images of the transfer on 26th October show Jorge – who weighs in at 99 kilogrammes (218 lbs) – being transferred to a 20,000-litre seawater pond where he will start his rehab for a more natural life.
After that, he will be transferred to a lagoon with a link to the ocean.
Newsflash obtained a statement and images from the city of Mendoza on 26th October saying that Mendoza Mayor Ulpiano Suarez accompanied Jorge to Mar del Plata.
The statement also said: “The specimen left to start an adaptation process and continue life in its natural habitat.”
And Mayor Suarez said: “Today is a historic day, with the transfer of the turtle Jorge to the Marine Fauna Rehabilitation Centre Aquarium, since we are taking a big step to improve his quality of life.
“Jorge, one of the most beloved characters in the city [of Mendoza] and in the entire province, arrives here in Mar del Plata with a message: ‘We have to respect nature and its species because it is never too late to have a new opportunity’.
“I would like to sincerely thank the professionals and all the municipal personnel who have taken care of him in these 38 years in Mendoza and all those who have shown him so much affection.”
Jorge’s transfer, reportedly by private plane, to the rehabilitation centre was overseen by the Undersecretary of Environment and Sustainable Development of the municipality, Sebastian Fermani, who said: “Jorge’s transfer was a complete success.
“The trip was made within the stipulated time, in fact it ended 20 minutes earlier than expected. The turtle was very calm at all times, he was not stressed and both veterinarians were monitoring his behaviour.”
Jorge was rescued by fishermen on a beach near Bahia Blanca in Buenos Aires province in 1984. The turtle, injured and numb from cold, was identified as a Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta).
Loggerhead sea turtles are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
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Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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