November 3, 2009

82 New Sea Turtles Hatch At SeaWorld San Diego

Officials at SeaWorld in San Diego have announced the arrival of 82 new sea turtles, which began in early October, and continued for almost two weeks.

The turtles were hatched from offspring of sea turtles that have lived in the park for more than 30 years. They were able to hatch on their own, without human intervention.

"These recent hatchlings are exciting for us," said Thad Dirksen, curator of fishes at SeaWorld.

"It's unusual to have sea turtles hatch in a zoological environment. And this time marked the first time we've done so without assisting the eggs through incubation."

When the baby turtles began to hatch on October 5, park workers started feeding them a diet of squid, krill, shrimp and special pellets.

According to the Associated Press, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will have to decide if the turtles can stay at SeaWorld in San Diego, or if they will need to be moved to a new place to live.

"There is so much that is not known about sea turtles," Tim Downing, assistant curator of fishes, told the AP. "We are getting real good information on the growth rate of juveniles."

The turtles are expected to weigh about 250 pound once they reach adulthood. At birth, they measured about 3 inches in length and weighed about half an ounce.

"They are all gaining weight and doing well. We have done some X-rays, and they are progressing just like we would expect them to," Downing said.


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