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Turtles Fly Too delivers the St. Louis Aquarium and community their First Sea Turtle...

Tsunami in his new home
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.


Media surrounding Tsunami


Reprint from Fox2Now by: ,

Posted: Jun 23, 2020 / 03:13 PM CDT Updated: Jun 23, 2020 / 10:34 PM CDT

About the author

Bonnie E. Barnes

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.