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Sea turtle's life saved by U.S. fighter jet design and creative student

An endangered sea turtle was saved thanks to the design of a U.S. fighter jet. The U.S. F-22 Raptor fighter jet offered up a design that a student in Israel incorporated into a life-saving prosthesis for the injured sea turtle, according to NBC news on April 12.

Endangered sea turtle saved by fighter jet design and creative student.
Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

When a young green sea turtle washed up on a beach in northern Israel, his flippers on the left side were almost severed from getting caught in fishing nets. When veterinarians couldn’t save the flippers, they were amputated, leaving the little fellow without his navigation devices on his left side. Without the left flippers, the turtle could only go one way and when agitated for any reason, his spastic movements sent him into a spin.

Without the flippers, the turtle could not hold his head out of water for that breathe of air he needed to stay alive. His head would drop to the left side when he tried to lift it out of the water using his right flippers, keeping his head submerged. According to Bayou Buzz, the turtle stopped breathing at one time and had to be resuscitated. It was obvious he could never go back into the wild and his life would be spent in a tank with barely any water at the bottom. His swimming days were over.

That is until a student devised strap on flippers for the turtle. Prosthesis flippers were attempted by the experts, but they failed. Shlomi Gez, an industrial student from Jerusalem, was looking for a design to create as his final year project and Freedom the turtle was going to be the benefactor of that design.

Gez tested a number of designs before coming up with one that was just right. That idea for the design came from the tail of the U.S. Air Force’s Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor jet. Now freedom has two left flippers made out of a special advanced plastic that strap to his body. This design solves his navigating in the water, he can get around just fine and it keeps his head out of water.

While Freedom can’t be let go into the wild in case the flippers fall off, he has been selected for a breeding project. He is already in the water with his mate. He is still a few years away from his sexual maturity, but he and his new mate, who was blinded by a boat propeller, are already doing some nuzzling at the bottom of the tank! Check out the video above where another sea turtle gets a new chance at life.

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