Ninja Turtle Stops Swimming Around In Circles - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

THURSDAY, April 9, 2009

Ninja Turtle Stops Swimming Around In Circles

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It's no ordinary wetsuit. A rescued green sea turtle is no longer swimming in circles, thanks to a new ninja suit.

Allison, a five-year-old green sea turtle, is finally back on the straight and narrow after losing three of her flippers in a shark attack in 2005. With only one good flipper, she was confined to shallow water, forced to swim solely in counterclockwise circles.

"There really isn't a whole lot you can do with a turtle that swims in circles and can't surface and can't dive," Jeff George said.

Allison was rescued by Sea Turtle Inc., a Texas-based non-profit that helps rehabilitate injured sea turtles. After helping her heal from her traumatic wounds, rescuers designed a special neoprene "ninja" suit made out of wetsuit material that straps over her shell, complete with a carbon fiber fin on the back, helping her now swim in a straight line.

"It protrudes behind her into the water, creating that drag, so when she flips her front right flipper, it forces her in a long forward sweeping arc, rather than in a tight counterclockwise circle," George said.

It gives this green sea turtle a new lease on life, and helps rais awareness about the plight of this endangered species.

"When she goes in that larger deeper pool and just relaxes and does what turtles do, that is, dive and swim and eat and chase other turtles," George said.

With a life expectancy of over 100 years, and projected to grow from her current weight of 25 pounds to more than 500 pounds, Allison has a long way to go. As she grows, she'll be fitted with new, larger prosthetic suits and a special tank will be built for her to swim in.

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