Rescued Sea Turtle Receives 3D Printed Shell

How cool is this?! We love seeing feel-good stories like this one.

This beautiful Loggerhead sea turtle was rescued from a power plant canal in New Jersey. She was well underweight, weighing approximately 75lbs, had a cracked shell, scoliosis in her spine, and paralysis in her rear flippers. 
In November 2014, she arrived at our local aquarium, the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla, California. There, she successfully gained from 75lbs to 215lbs (expected adult weight, 250lbs). Although gaining weight was a positive thing, it still had it's complications and aggravated her health conditions. The solution was to fix her shell. 
 This past December, the sea turtle received a new, sleek, epoxy shell that was constructed by a 3D printer. Her new shell will help prevent her from any further damage to her spine and organs.
Other options for solutions such as surgery or external bracing were discussed, but scientists and veterinarians agreed and settled with constructed shell prototypes, leading to the epoxy shell. 
“Loggerheads are very charismatic, very friendly.” said Jennifer Frohlich, a veterinarian with UC San Diego who assisted with the turtle’s care.“They’re the Labrador dog of sea turtles. She’s very charismatic and knows when people are in front of the tank, and she hams it up.” 
Kudos to the veterinarians and scientists of the La Jolla Birch Aquarium!

Photos Courtesy of La Jolla Birch Aquarium

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