Rescued Sea Turtle Finds New Home at Las Vegas Casino

The endangered, 320-pound reptile was shipped via FedEx to Mandalay Bay for "retirement"

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Florida Keys News Bureau / Handout / Reuters

Staff at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital scrub down OD, a 320-pound green sea turtle, to remove algae in Marathon, Fla., July 24, 2013.

The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas has welcomed its latest VIP resident, a 320-pound green sea turtle named OD.

The approximately 50-year-old turtle joins the luxury casino’s Shark Reef Aquarium from the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital, where staffers have been caring for him for the last five years, the Associated Press reports.

OD is short for Ocean Diver, the name of the charter boat that discovered him in 2008, floating off the coast of Key Largo. Hospital officials diagnosed him with an irreparable collapsed lung, leaving the turtle floating lopsided. Using marine epoxy in an effort to correct the turtle’s condition, officials fastened weights to his shell to help balance him out.

The Shark Reef Aquarium, a vast 22-feet deep, 1.3 million-gallon tank, will give OD more stimulation and more space. Mandalay staffers welcomed the famed turtle Friday after his 2,400 mile trip in a specially moisturized and foam-padded crate by FedEx plane. The carrier provided transportation for free. OD will be quarantined for 45 days before joining the main exhibition.

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