The Loggerhead Turtle which made a surprise appearance on the Irish coastlines at beginning of 2019 is ready to make to take the next step on his rehab journey with a move into the ocean tank at Exploris Aquarium, Portaferry. This will be his last step before he makes his way back to the wild.
The vulnerable loggerhead turtle, named ‘Julius Cesar’ by the Johnstone family who rescued the turtle, after finding him found washed up on a beach in Co.Donegal, arrived at Exploris Aquarium on the 14th January 2019. Since then ‘JC’ has been making steady progress on his journey back to full health.
The move into the ocean tank will provide a more stimulating environment like that in the wild for JC, it will also give him a lot more room to swim and drive around other animals as well as compete for food. The current inhabitants of the ocean tank at Exploris Aquarium include; black reef tip sharks, trigger fish, stingrays and a variety of large marine reef fish.
Peter Williams, curator at Exploris Aquarium, has being working closely with JC since his arrival. He reported;
“When JC arrived at the aquarium, the turtle was in a critical condition and we were unsure on whether or not it would pull through. However thankfully with expert around the clock care it wasn’t too long until JC was out of the woods”.
“Only weighing a mere 1.2kg when it arrived, however since then JC has been feeding well on a variety of fish and invertebrates and we are now happy to report that the turtle weighs almost 5kg and the shell is almost 30cm.”
Pete continued; “We are very pleased with the progress JC is making here at Exploris Aquarium and we have no doubts that this will continue. Hopefully next year we will be able to release JC back to the ocean.”
Those that visit the 5-star attraction will be able to get a glimpse of the vulnerable species whilst JC continues to recover. The attraction which opens 7 days a week has a variety for wildlife from our shores and further afield including a reptilian zone. Exploris Aquarium also works to rehabilitate sick and abandoned seals which are found on the Northern Ireland coastlines.
Exploris is provided by Aquarium Exploris Limited in partnership with Ards and North Down Borough Council and supported by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.