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National Aquarium In Baltimore Moves 500 Pound Sea Turtle To Make Room For New Shark Exhibit

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Calypso sea turtle aquarium
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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Nine months from now, the National Aquarium in Baltimore will open a new exhibit in the heart of its main building.  All the animals from the big pool in the middle had to be moved.

Mike Schuh takes you along for the journey.

A couple of weeks ago, WJZ’s Mike Schuh took a swim in the middle of the aquarium and learned that Calypso the sea turtle is a sucker for a head of lettuce.

The whole sting ray exhibit is being re-done.

The animals have to go. Some have been given to other aquariums.

“We’re going to be pulling out Calypso, a very large, 500 pound sea turtle, and two zebra sharks,” said Andy Dehart, National Aquarium.

The stars, like Calypso and the sharks, will stay but need to be moved.

“These animals are going to be moved to a pool under the dolphin pool, where they’re going to stay for approximately nine months while we do our big renovation and turn this exhibit into Black Tip Reef,” Dehart said.

The divers go in. In full view, the sharks are first.  A sling is used to get the shark up and out, over to a special box filled with oxygenated water.

Once in, there’s a short roll over to the next pier.

“Luckily, moving the turtle is fairly easy,” Dehart said. “Once you get over the fact that she’s 500 pounds, we get a lot of aquarists out.”

As we found, lettuce is a certain lure for a green sea turtle. It’s enough to get her to back into her sling.

It’s hard to tell from a turtle’s facial expression if Calypso is happy about the move or not.

Moments later, we find out instinct takes over and Calypso wants to bolt.

She’s lowered onto a tire. It supports her belly, and she can move her flippers without hitting anything.

The tire, hoisted on a hand truck, was also rolled over to the other pier.

Mission accomplished.  A safe transfer.

That new exhibit is built around sharks. It opens 9 months from now.

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