The Aquarium of the Pacific is caring for an endangered green sea turtle that was rescued by the Marine Mammal Center’s San Luis Obispo Operations near Avila Beach on Dec. 11.

After the turtle arrived, veterinarians performed surgery on the turtle’s front left flipper.

“The rescued sea turtle did great with the surgery on its injured front flipper and is healing and eating well,” said Dr. Lance Adams, an Aquarium of the Pacific veterinarian. “The goal is to be able to release the turtle back into the wild later this year once it has made its full recovery and ocean conditions are ideal.”

The aquarium’s marine facility is known for its expertise in treating and releasing stranded and injured sea turtles, a service the aquarium has offered for more than a decade.

Vets estimate the endangered turtle to be a juvenile about 3 to 5 years old, weighing just over 21 pounds and measuring 16 inches in length. Since the surgery, the turtle has been put on a diet rich in vitamins and nutrients vital to its recovery and growth, the aquarium said.

“We prepare restaurant-quality seafood and greens for the rescued turtle every day. We have found that the turtle really likes its protein over its greens and also prefers to eat fish over shellfish like clams,” said Stacy Hammond, Aquarium of the Pacific aquarist.

The aquarium has been rehabilitating and releasing sea turtles since 2000. Some have been fitted with satellite tracking devices for researchers to gather data about habitats and migration patterns.

The Marine Mammal Center in Morro Bay transferred the rescued sea turtle to the aquarium with authorization from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Fisheries office.

Maison Tran is a fellow at the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected].