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Shelldon Makes a Big Move

Rescue turtle can now be viewed in the Atlantic Coral Reef tank, and will return to the ocean in October.

Sept. 5, 2018 - Shelldon the loggerhead sea turtle has taken another big step in its journey back to the wild. Now weighing in at more than 12 pounds and measuring longer than 15 inches, Shelldon recently moved to the Atlantic Coral Reef tank at the Aquarium because the turtle was getting too big for its previous home.

The rescue turtle arrived to the ABQ BioPark from the North Carolina Aquarium in October 2017 as part of an education ambassador program. Shelldon will leave the ABQ BioPark on October 15 return to North Carolina. From there, the turtle will be released into the Gulf Stream off the coast of Pine Knoll Shores with a group of other rescue turtles that were part of the program. Shelldon will be accompanied by ABQ BioPark Aquarist Andrew Montoya and volunteer Christina Gonzales for the flight to North Carolina and release.

"I’m really happy that Shelldon was able to come here for a year and help teach our visitors about sea turtles and their plight in the wild," said Holly Casman, Aquarium manager. "Our little ambassador helped spread a great conservation story and it was fun to watch the turtle grow and thrive here. Aquarium staff wishes Shelldon all the best adapting to a new life in the wild."

Added Richard Lerner, ABQ BioPark Aquarium curator, "Shelldon has been very popular with the visitors. Many of them have come back and watched Shelldon grow over this past year. It has been a privilege to have Shelldon here as an ambassador for the species. Hopefully the visitors have come to appreciate Shelldon and all the animals we display at the Aquarium and take away a sense of stewardship towards protecting the inhabitants of our oceans, lakes and rivers."

Come visit Shelldon at the Aquarium before the turtle returns to the wild! 

The ABQ BioPark would like to thank the New Mexico BioPark Society for funding staff trips to North Carolina to participate in this project. Funds were raised through the society’s spring annual appeal focused on Shelldon and ocean conservation. 

Learn more about the turtle rescue and ambassador program as well as Shelldon's arrival to the BioPark.

Read about Shelldon's growth over the past year.