Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Georgia's Most Famous Loggerhead Turtle, Fresh from Its Engagement as a Star at Atlanta's Aquarium, Will Rest Up before It Returns to the Ocean; Dylan's Farewell Tour Will Conclude at Sea

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Georgia's Most Famous Loggerhead Turtle, Fresh from Its Engagement as a Star at Atlanta's Aquarium, Will Rest Up before It Returns to the Ocean; Dylan's Farewell Tour Will Conclude at Sea

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE MORRISON

JEKYLL ISLAND - After a sold-out engagement before an audience of nearly 5 million, Dylan the loggerhead sea turtle has returned from Atlanta to Jekyll Island to train for its next engagement - the deep blue sea.

After a five-hour van trip, Dylan arrived Tuesday afternoon at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center for a couple of months of rest and to learn a few new life skills. Then he - or possibly she, because the turtle's sex has not been determined - will be released into the Atlantic Ocean.

Taken into captivity as a wandering hatchling on the Jekyll Island beach seven years ago, Dylan swam at the Tidelands Nature Center on Jekyll until 18 months ago, when it outgrew the Tidelands tank. From there, it went to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta and became a star of the Georgia Explorer Gallery.

The aquarium has played host to 4.9 million visitors since opening in November 2005.

"He was definitely a fan favorite," said Meghann Gibbons, the aquarium's public relations manager. "He liked to swim in front of the acrylic window. The kids could get right up to it and see his beauty. His shell is intact. He's a perfect specimen. He really became an ambassador for sea turtles."

Gibbons, who rode with Dylan, said the trip went smoothly. The turtle was transported in a dry box but was coated with a moisture-retaining foam and was no worse for the wear upon arrival, she said.

Dylan became the second sea turtle to take up residence at the center. The first came in Sunday and a third arrived moments after Dylan. The other two sustained propeller injuries and require medical care. One was discovered near Blackbeard Island north of Jekyll, and the other was pulled from the water near Cumberland Island to the south.

Veterinarian Terry Norton, a sea turtle specialist, said the center was not expecting the sudden surge of business. …

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