Amputee Turtle swims again with Rubber fins

What if Science, if it could not find a way to address out problems? When we say our problems, it includes the problems of creatures around us too. Be it a pet dog, or just a stray cat, everything needs the help of science and technology. Just like this Amputee turtle in Japan who lost his front set of flippers back in 2008. Her dream to swim again has now become to true thanks to the rubber fins that are worn around her head.

Yu lives at the Suma Aqualife Park near Kobe in Japan after her front flippers were torn off in the wild ina suspected shark attack.

While there have been various attempts to fit turtles with prosthetic limbs around the world, the aquarium believes Yu is the only turtle to enjoy swimming using her rubber limbs without any problems.

The 200-pound female turtle wears a black vest to which the rubber flippers are attached, after aquarium staff had previously tried other versions, which squeezed her stumps and caused her discomfort.


While there have been various attempts to fit turtles with prosthetic fins around the world, the aquarium believes Yu is the only turtle to enjoy swimming using her prosthetic limbs without any problems – and she has got through 27 pairs of rubber flippers

Naoki Kamezaki, the aquarium’s curator said: ‘We have worked hard to design the vest in a way that prevents the turtle from taking it off unwittingly.’

‘It can flutter the limbs as the vest is soft.’

Yu has become a tourist attraction and is thought to be approximately 25-years-old, but she could live to over 50 years of age.

Loggerhead turtles are an endangered species that are threatened by fishing nets, ships’ propellers and warming ocean currents – as well as natural predators, including sharks, which are partial to a meal of turtle.

The sea turtles are the world’s largest hard-shelled turtle and regularly swim some 8,000 miles across oceans and back ‘home,’ using the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate vast bodies of water.

Adults have a weight of between 80 and 200kg and typically measure almost one metre long.

Unusually for threatened species they are distributed across the world, inhabiting the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans as well as the Mediterranean Sea.

In the Atlantic Ocean, the greatest concentration of loggerhead turtles is along the southeastern coast of North America and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Florida is the most popular nesting site with over 67,000 nests built every year but they have been found as far north as Virginia and as far south as Brazil.

The largest Indian Ocean nesting site is Oman, on the Arabian Peninsula, which hosts around 15,000 nests, giving it the second largest nesting population of loggerheads in the world, while between 1,000 and 2,000 nests are built on the coast of Western Australia every year.

Pacific loggerheads live in temperate to tropical regions, foraging in the East China Sea and southwestern Pacific an nesting in Eastern Australia and Japan.

After nesting, females like Yu often make their homes in the East China Sea and 95 per cent of turles in the area hatch on the Japanese Islands in the Western Pacific.

The turtles are transported by the prevailing currents across the full length of the northern Pacific, one of the longest migration routes of any marine animal.

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