Turtle Canyon set to open at Newport Aquarium in March

February 19th, 2014 by

Tortoise at the Newport Aquarium

The Newport Aquarium and its turtle friends are unveiling an awesome new aquarium exhibit that is set to open on March 22. Featured amongst the numerous turtles will the be the one and only Bravo, the Galapagos tortoise. It will require a crane to hoist this 600-pound, 84-year-old, new resident into his new habitat. Heck, Bravo has even been around longer than most used car dealerships in Cincinnati, and he is looking to continuing that lovely life at this new exhibit (we haven’t talked with him, but we just know it… oh and he is a tortoise).

Soon enough, the big guy will be led up a ramp into a van that will drive him from his current home in a zoo in Columbia, S.C. to the Newport Aquarium. He hatched back in April of 1929 on the Ecuadorian island of Santa Cruz, from which he was brought to the U.S. as part of the last group of tortoises exported from the Galapagos Islands. Turtle Canyon will feature a great collections of more than 14 species spanning three continents.

One little friend in particular that will be joining Bravo is a 6-month-old, 1.9-pound endangered loggerhead. It hatched back in August at Emerald Isle, N.C., and has been fostered by the Newport staff since back in October. “Only one in a thousand baby loggerhead sea turtles make it to adulthood once they are hatched, so this program is very important as a conservation initiative for all of us,” said Chris Pierson, the aquarium’s director of operations. “Anytime we can save one animal and give it a head start is very important.”

He said the baby will be released in October with a satellite tag attached to it. The goal is to better understand the migration patterns of loggerhead sea turtles. “I know your first question about the loggerhead turtle is probably, ‘What’s its name?’ ” Pierson said. “That is a great question. I wish I knew too, but our guests are going to get an opportunity to name this turtle.” That actually was our first question… you are good Chris!