It is truly bittersweet but, after spending a year in Adventure Aquarium’s care, we are preparing to say goodbye to Koopa, our juvenile loggerhead during our upcoming Sea Turtle Awareness Weekend (10/8-10/10).
Last November, AAQ welcomed the young hatchling as part of the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores Sea Turtle Program. Over the course of the year, biologists taught the hatchling enrichment activities to help prepare it for life in the wild.
Every year, Adventure Aquarium brings a hatchling from the rehab and release program for one year. After a year, the hatchling is released into the wild off the coast of North Carolina along with other yearlings from aquariums all over the country. Koopa will officially depart from Camden and make the trip with AAQ biologists to North Carolina on the week of October 17th.
By caring for Koopa, the Aquarium gave the little loggerhead the time he (or she since we don’t know its gender) needed to gain strength and grow before taking on life in the ocean. In his time here, Koopa has grown 3 times in size since his arrival.
Loggerhead turtles like Koopa can weigh less than an ounce and measure less than 2 inches when they hatch in sandy nests along temperate coastlines around the globe. They are vulnerable to a variety of predators, as they make their way to the sea and begin their lives in the water. If they survive their first year, loggerheads can grow to be the largest of all hard shelled turtles, averaging 3 feet in length and weighing about 250 pounds.