BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A juvenile green sea turtle who was left stranded on a barrier island after a boat strike in 2018 is getting some rehab at the National Aquarium.

Kai was rescued by the South Carolina Aquarium back then although his shell injury has healed well, the Aquarium said she was still having issues with buoyancy control.

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In other words, the Aquarium said, she was not able to dive.

They said the boat strike damaged part of Kai’s spinal cord that affects digestion, which created blockages in the gastrointestinal tract that can lead to excess gas which can cause her to be overly buoyant.

Kai began to outgrow the space in South Carolina and needed a new home. She was transferred to the National Aquarium in Baltimore to continue her rehabilitation.

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“It has been an absolute pleasure leading Kai’s husbandry effort at the Animal Care and Rescue Center,” said Ryan Kuenzel, a herpetologist at the National Aquarium. “It’s been exciting working with the Animal Health and exhibit fabrication teams—and the rest of the husbandry staff—to find a solution to Kai’s buoyancy issue.”

They have been readjusting weights attached to her shell, made with a turtle-friendly epoxy adhesive, to learn where the weights need to be placed.

As far as they know, the shell attachment prosthetic is the first of its kind.

“Kai will serve as an ambassador for green sea turtles everywhere and help to spread awareness about the threats they face. Green sea turtle populations are in decline around the world, and in the United States, certain populations are threatened or endangered,” the Aquarium said in a release.

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CBS Baltimore Staff