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Rescued Keys Sea Turtle Arrives In Las Vegas

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OD, a 320-pound green sea turtle lifts his head to breathe in a transition pool at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital Wednesday, July 24, 2013, in Marathon, Fla. Because of an irreparable collapsed lung, the turtle cannot be released into the wild. It is set to be loaded on a FedEx flight to Las Vegas early Thursday, July 25, and live out its life at the The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Resort and Casino. (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau)

OD, a 320-pound green sea turtle lifts his head to breathe in a transition pool at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital Wednesday, July 24, 2013, in Marathon, Fla. Because of an irreparable collapsed lung, the turtle cannot be released into the wild. It is set to be loaded on a FedEx flight to Las Vegas early Thursday, July 25, and live out its life at the The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Resort and Casino. (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau)

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FLORIDA KEYS (CBSMiami) – A South Florida sea turtle has found a new home in Sin City.  OD was shipped via FedEx and arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada, Thursday afternoon.

The endangered green sea turtle named ‘OD’ took off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Thursday morning to make the 2,400-mile trip to his new home in Las Vegas. The turtle was transported alongside two of his caretakers from the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital.

OD, believed to be about 50-years-old, was at the Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys since 2008. Named for the Key Largo charter boat that rescued him, OD can’t be released due to an irreparable collapsed lung.

“He can’t function in the wild because he floats, the good lung overcompensates and he floats to one side,” said Turtle Hospital Manager Bette Zirkelbach who, along with the hospital’s founder Richie Moretti, will travel with the turtle to monitor his condition.

It wasn’t until recently that OD’s caretakers at the Turtle Hospital began trying to find him a new home with a more stimulating environment to ensure a lifestyle suited for his survival.

Thanks to the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, who responded to the Turtle Hospital’s call, OD will spend his “retirement” at the resort’s 1.3-million-gallon aquarium.

SLIDESHOW: OD The Rehabilitated 320-Pound Sea Turtle

“He’s ready now for a forever home,” said Turtle Hospital Manager Bette Zirkelbach who, along with the hospital’s founder Richie Moretti, will travel with the turtle to monitor his condition.’’

“This is going to be lot bigger tank with a lot more excitement,” said Moretti. “There’s going to be coral, there’s going be other turtles and fish, this is going to be a great home.”

OD will have to be quarantined for a standard of 45-days before he can swim in his new aquatic-home along with other cared-for marine animals—including sea turtles.

In his new home, OD will also provide a resource for the aquarium’s visitors to be better educated about endangered green sea turtles.

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