Prosthetic Flippers and a Turtle Named Yu

Check out this lucky Loggerhead sea turtle named Yu.  Yu is a 200-pound female that was found in 2008 after her front flippers had been bitten off by sharks .The Suma Aqualife Park (AFP) near Kobe, Japan, has fitted Yu with over 25 pairs of artificial limbs in an attempt to help her swim independently. She is now on trial pair 27 and they are working out perfectly!

 “Similar attempts have been made to attach artificial limbs to turtles around the world,” said Naoki Kamezaki, the aquarium’s curator, in an interview with AFP.  “Ours may be the only case in which a turtle with artificial limbs is still swimming without a problem.” – Sarah Griffiths, Mail Online, 2013

Loggerhead sea turtles are an endangered species under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These turtles were once found in large numbers all over the world, inhabiting the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans as well as the Mediterranean Sea. They are world travellers, continually swimming 12800km across the open ocean and back to reproduce and lay eggs.

Threats to these turtles include fishing nets, ships’ propellers, warming ocean currents, navigation disruption by sonar, development on nesting beaches and being hunted by humans for food.  Females lay an average of four egg clutches during mating season, but then stop producing eggs for two to three years. Out of these clutches, less than 1% of the baby turtles make it to reproductive adulthood at 17 to 33 years of age.

 Yu is a very lucky turtle! Her condition makes it impossible for her to survive on her own in the wild. She now gets to live out her life swimming with her new flippers at the AFP aquarium, and her genetic material is safeguarded for the preservation of future loggerhead turtle conservation.

To Read the full story by Sarah Griffiths, Mail Online, and see videos of Yu using her artificial flipper click HERE

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