Uni-flipper turtle gets it straight with swimsuit

April 11, 2009 By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN , Associated Press Writer
Allison, a rescued green sea turtle who has only one flipper, swims with the aid of a fin attached with neoprene at the Sea Turtle, Inc., in South Padre Island, Texas, Wednesday, April 8, 2009. Without the fin, developed at the turtle rescue facility, Allison can only swim in circles. The group had previously experimented with prosthetic flippers without luck. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(AP) -- Allison, a green sea turtle with only one flipper, has been going around and around and around for most of her life.

But swimming in tight circles is tough for a 5-year-old turtle whose life expectancy is about 150 years.

Allison was set straight Wednesday, when researchers outfitted her in a black neoprene suit with a carbon-fiber dorsal fin on the back that allows her to glide gracefully with other turtles.

"That's a sea turtle doing what a sea turtle does," said Dave Cromwell, a worker who watched the turtle's new moves at Sea Turtle Inc., a Texas not-for-profit group that rehabilitates injured .

The fin on the suit, which resembles a wetsuit covering about three-quarters of her body, acts like a rudder and gives her stability. Allison can change direction by varying the strokes of her front right flipper, the lone survivor in what rescuers believe was a shark attack.

Sea Turtle Inc. curator Jeff George said turtles with only one flipper are usually euthanized because they would struggle to reach the surface for air. Two-flipper turtles can be adopted by zoos and three-flipper turtles can be returned to the wild.

Allison, who arrived at the rescue center in 2005, was given a slim chance of survival, but she recovered from her injuries and wormed her way into the hearts of her rescuers, who tried to find a way to help the circling turtle.

"The whole reason we're doing this is to improve her quality of life," said Tom Wilson, a 21-year-old intern who thought up the suit.

George said a team of scientists last year spent months trying to develop a prosthetic flipper to counter the thrust of Allison's remaining paddle, but there was not enough of a stump remaining to attach prosthetics.

Wilson's idea applied the physics of canoe paddling. The scientists have developed equations that will allow them to tailor new suits and fins because Allison could grow to around 500 to 600 pounds.

Even though Allison will never return to the sea, the groundbreaking work will make her an "ambassador" for an endangered species, George said.

For now, the triumph that the turtle could swim like the others was enough for those at the rescue center: Cromwell said watchers wept the first time Allison dove to feed at the salad bar of waving Romaine lettuce.


On the Net:

Sea Turtle Inc.: http://www.seaturtleinc.com/

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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4 / 5 (1) Apr 12, 2009
Thanks for looking out for our oft ignored animal friends!
not rated yet Apr 12, 2009
Chelonia mydas cyborgicus :)
3 / 5 (1) Apr 12, 2009
Although it looks awesome i cant help but facepalm to see them saving a turtle who was attacked by nature.
1 / 5 (1) Apr 12, 2009
I don't see the point of spending time and money with this.
What is the benefit for the environment?
Let natural selection happens.
1 / 5 (1) Apr 12, 2009
Natural selection is not promoted by many people. Everything must be preserved. Allowing natural destruction to occur indicates we have little control over our environment, and as a result are weak.

The device allows us to expand our range of technological tools. Doing it just to save a single animal, without the overall economic implications in consideration, is a waste of resources. The animal amounts to nothing more than seafood.
3 / 5 (1) Apr 12, 2009
To these high and mighty comments above, your just a number and tax base for the rich above you anyways. So get back to slogging out your so called important life.
1 / 5 (1) Apr 12, 2009
^That's just it. Your life ISN'T important, in the big scheme of things. And neither is this turtle's. The fact that we elevate it to such heights, and devote so many resources to this trivial issue is just an example of how out of whack humans have gotten with regards to the "natural order."
5 / 5 (1) Apr 12, 2009
I don't see the point of spending time and money with this.

What is the benefit for the environment?

Let natural selection happens.

Its a nice thing to do for a fellow sentient being, you assholes. It wasn't meant to save the world. You probably step on bums on the way to work every morning, don't you thokling? I hope you lose an arm and the doctor sees no sense in saving just one armless jerk when so many other things are wrong with the world.
2 / 5 (1) Apr 13, 2009
Turtle Soup au Sherry
10 ounces (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 pound turtle meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup minced celery (4 stalks)
2 medium onions, minced (2 medium)
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 cups tomato purée
1 quart beef stock
NOTE: If turtle bones are available, add them to the beef bones when making the stock for this dish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, as needed
1/2 cup lemon juice
5 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced parsley
6 teaspoons dry sherry
Melt 8 ounces (2 sticks) butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the roux is light brown. Set aside.
In a 5-quart saucepan, melt the remaining butter and add turtle meat. Cook over high heat until the meat is brown. Add celery, onions, garlic and seasonings, and cook until the vegetables are transparent.

Add tomato purée, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the roux and cook over low heat, stirring, until the soup is smooth and thickened. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon juice, eggs and parsley.

Remove from heat and serve. At the table, add 1 teaspoon sherry to each soup
1 / 5 (1) Apr 13, 2009
Fried Turtle

~ turtle meat
~ 1 bay leaf
~ black pepper
~ seasoning salt
~ your favorite fish breading

Soak the turtle meat in salt water for at least 2 hours. Drain.

Place meat in a pressure cooker and cover with water. Add the bay leaf and pepper and seasoning salt to taste.

Cook 35 minutes at 15 lb's of pressure. Cool.

Roll meat in your favorite fish breading.

Pan fry like chicken in a skillet or deep fry like fish until golden brown.

Serve and enjoy.

4 / 5 (1) Apr 13, 2009
OK, thats funny. Ill give you that. Just promise me you'll at least try this recipe.

3 kg dog meat -- * see note
1 1/2 cups vinegar
60 peppercorns -- crushed
6 tablespoons salt
12 cloves garlic -- crushed
1/2 cup cooking oil
6 cups onion -- sliced
3 cups tomato sauce
10 cups boiling water
6 cups red pepper -- cut into strips
6 pieces bay leaf
1 teaspoon tabasco sauce
1 1/2 cups liver spread -- ** see note
1 whole fresh pineapple -- cut 1/2 inch thick

1. First, kill a medium sized dog, then burn off the fur over a hot fire.
2. Carefully remove the skin while still warm and set aside for later (may be
used in other recpies)
3. Cut meat into 1%u2033 cubes. Marinade meat in mixture of vinegar, peppercorn,
salt and garlic for 2 hours.
4. Fry meat in oil using a large wok over an open fire, then add onions and
chopped pineapple and suate until tender.
5. Pour in tomato sauce and boiling water, add green peper, bay leaf and
6. Cover and simmer over warm coals until meat is tender. Blend in liver spread
and cook for additional 5-7 minutes.

* you can substiture lamb for dog. The taste is similar, but not as pungent.
** smooth liver pate will do as well.

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