The University of Georgia Aquarium welcomes its newest sea turtle hatchling, Lefty. A loggerhead sea turtle, Lefty hatched on September 18, 2015 on Ossabaw Island. Appropriately named, the hatchling was left behind in the nest while others made their way out and to the ocean’s edge. Lefty arrived at the UGA Aquarium with a weak front left flipper that lacked a full range of motion, which could partially explain why it didn’t leave the nest. With care, Lefty has successfully regained use of the left flipper and is doing well.
Stragglers like Lefty are often discovered during nest excavations that occur after the initial hatchling event. Trained individuals working with numerous sea turtle projects stationed along Georgia’s beaches perform these excavations. Overseen by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, stragglers from the nest are transported to an approved temporary home, one of which is the UGA Aquarium, to care for the endangered species. The stragglers are raised for a brief period of time and, if approved, are eventually released back to the ocean.
During their time at the UGA Aquarium, loggerhead sea turtles like Lefty act as animal ambassadors, reaching tens of thousands of people each year and helping to promote stewardship along the Georgia coast in countless ways. Located on Skidaway Island, the UGA Aquarium is run by Marine Extension and is part of the University of Georgia Office of Public Service and Outreach.
You can see a video of Lefty here on the UGA Public Service and Outreach Facebook page.