Turtles Fly Too delivers the St. Louis Aquarium and community their First Sea Turtle...
Tsunami and Quasimodo in their new home
And Then There Were Two!
When Leslie, our Board President receives a call from Dr. Terry Norton, founder of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, you pay attention. We have worked with Dr. Norton since the infancy of Turtles Fly Too; and yes, it is probably his support of our work that has evolved us into the organization we are today.
Fast forward, the call comes in as Dr. Norton has found a new permanent home for one of his long-term patients, Tsunami. The St. Louis Aquarium, newly opened in December 2019 at Union Station has an incredible, state of the art aquarium with more than 13,000 aquatic animals from fresh water and marine environments around the world, yet, no sea turtles to grace their new space.
Tsunami had three years of medical care at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center following a boat strike. He arrived at the center on July 18, 2017, with injuries to the left side of the head behind the eye and part of his jaw all the way to his left front flipper.
“Tsunami was a critical patient for a long time at the center,” Dr. Norton said. “From tube feeding to daily wound care, he had a long road to recovery. At the end of September 2017, Tsunami finally started showing interest in food, and by October he was able to eat on his own.”
Tsunami, a small green sea turtle who hails from Jekyll Island has taken the St. Louis community by storm
You would think that a President was visiting based on the amount of media met the plane upon Tsunami’s arrival. Our Turtle Fliers, Warren Brown, his wife Bethany, and daughter Lily were surrounded by the press and everyone was anxious to meet Tsunami. Aaron Sprowl, general curator at the St. Louis Aquarium met the flight Tuesday afternoon at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport and gave Tsunami a lift to his new home.
Compliments of Jekyll Island Authority, Georgia Sea Turtle Center
“We put him in the tank, and it looks like he’s doing really well,” said Aaron Sprowl, general curator at the St. Louis Aquarium. “Doing what a typical sea turtle will do. Basically, destroying the tank already! He will live in the Shark Canyon habitat at St. Louis Aquarium. The professional animal care team will be able to continue his jaw therapy as needed.”
Tsunami is estimated to be between 15 and 20 years old and could grow to about 500 pounds.
Tsunami spent a few days in a thousand-gallon holding tank before being moved into the 250,000-gallon main tank at the end of the week for display to the general public.
Posted: Jun 23, 2020 / 03:13 PM CDT/ Updated: Jun 23, 2020 / 10:34 PM CDT
Surprise Repeat Event Requested
...The Rest of the Story!
When you do good things, you sometimes get to do them again. Dr. Terry Norton actually had two sea turtles that had been under long-term care at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. It was believed Tsunami was a female but not confirmed. Therefore the Aquarium was approved by USFWS to receive both Tsunami and Quasimodo pending the results of Tsunami’s gender test.
It was known from a previous test that Quasimodo was female. Tsunami’s test results came back saying she was a male so transport for Tsunami was arranged as males and female sea turtles are not allowed to be together. Shortly after arrival, it was determined the test results were incorrect and after further review, Tsunami was unequivocally a female.
Dr. Norton contacted Leslie Weinstein from Turtles Fly Too, beginning the conversation with, "I've got sort of good news and bad news, the St. Louis Aquarium would like to take Quasi now..." asking if we could possibly arrange a second flight for Quasimodo's travel to join Tsunami at the St. Louis Aquarium.
Not surprisingly, it relatively easy to find a second Turtle Flier willing to make the journey. Paul and Sherry Schubert volunteered and flew Quasi to St. Louis. Quasi arrived to less of a fanfare, but nonetheless, an incredible new home.
Aaron Sprowl, General Curator at the Aquarium commented, "We are extremely grateful of TF2 for helping get both these turtles to such a great new home requiring two flights that could have been one."
Bonnie E. Barnes on
About the author
Bonnie E. Barnes
Bonnie E. Barnes, Executive Director
Bonnie previously served as Development Manager for an International Marine Conservation organization headquartered in the Florida Keys. Bonnie’s heart is in conservation, whether scuba diving, traipsing through a forest, or swooshing down a mountain, she loves and cares about our environment.