CNN, 03 May 2006

Injured sea turtle rescued off Georgia coast

BRUNSWICK, Georgia (AP) -- Georgia wildlife officials rescued an injured 500-pound loggerhead sea turtle and sent it to Florida with the hopes experts there could nurse it back to health.

The massive male loggerhead's shell was cracked when it was spotted Monday floating in the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.

"It had been there for a few days," said Mark Dodd, a wildlife biologist and coordinator of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' sea turtle program. "Gas had built up in his shell because of the injury and was preventing him from submerging."

The injury was most likely caused by a boat, Dodd said. He said the turtle likely would have died.

Since there is no sea turtle center in the Golden Isles, the animal was taken Tuesday to Sea World in Orlando, Florida, where it will spend up to a year.

The injury gave biologists a chance to take a look at a male loggerhead, something of a rarity since males typically spend their entire lives in the ocean after hatching.