How long does it take a sea turtle to travel from the Florida Keys to southern California?
Only a few hours when it travels by FedEx. That's what Sapphire, a loggerhead sea turtle, is doing today on a journey from the Turtle Hospital in Marathon to The Living Coast Discovery Center near San Diego.
The turtle has been at the Middle Keys rehab center for 16 months and cannot be released back to the wild.
A boat strike injured the turtle so she cannot regulate her lungs and can't stay underwater. Weights glued to her shell allow her to dive, but the growth of her shell means the weights will eventually fall off.
"She has 'bubble-butt' syndrome," said Bette Zirkelbach, manager of the Turtle Hospital. Turtles with this syndrome float along the surface of the water. It means they can't feed and they're vulnerable to getting hit by boats.
Her new home will be a 21,000-gallon tank where she will be viewed by the public, along with information about the hazards sea turtles face. Loggerhead sea turtles are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.