By WXXV Staff
August 26, 2020
Tampa, Fla. – In 2016, The Florida Aquarium’s animal care team took in Banner, an endangered green sea turtle. After four years of rehabilitation and care, Banner has successfully made the 600-mile trek up the Gulf Coast to his new home at Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport, MS.
In coordination with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), Banner was found stranded in Brevard County, after suffering a serious boat strike injury. The Florida Aquarium’s team of animal care and veterinarians spent several months nursing the turtle back to good health and provided him with exceptional care; however, after a rigorous evaluation, FWC determined Banner non-releasable due to the severity of his injuries. Mississippi Aquarium has now received Banner and will provide him with the critical care and support he requires to live a safe and healthy life.
“From the first day Banner arrived, he connected with our staff and our guests, and his story of tragedy to triumph is one we too often have to tell,” said Rachel Thomas, sea turtle biologist at The Florida Aquarium, who has cared for Banner for the past year. “The Florida Aquarium is dedicated to saving wildlife, especially endangered sea turtles like Banner, and while we are sad to see him go, we are proud to know we were able to give Banner a second chance at life and are excited to see him thrive at his new aquarium home.”
Banner now resides in a 400,000-gallon habitat featuring a sand tiger shark, cownose rays, a moray eel, pufferfish and more. Mississippi Aquarium is set to open on August 29.
“We are excited to work with our partner, The Florida Aquarium to give animals, like Banner, a home. Mississippi is considered a critical habitat for the endangered sea turtle, and our scientists are already out in the field studying the species to make sure they have what they need for their long term survival. We look forward to Banner helping educate our community about the importance of protecting their habitats,” said Dr. Holley Muraco, Director of Research.