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Sea turtle wounded by shotgun fire being treated at SeaWorld in San Diego

February 6, 2011 |  9:50 am


A 250-pound green sea turtle wounded by shotgun fire is being treated at SeaWorld in San Diego. The turtle was near death when found in the marshlands of San Diego Bay and rushed to the park.

Dubbed Bruce, the turtle has been roaming in the San Diego Bay for several years, monitored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A check on Jan. 25 found the turtle dehydrated and underweight, with deep lacerations to its tail and flipper.

Taken to SeaWorld for emergency care, X-rays found shotgun pellets lodged in its neck and throat. Bruce, part of a species rarely seen in the San Diego Bay, is thought to be at least 50 years old.

SeaWorld veterinarians hope that Bruce will be well enough to be released into the bay by summer. Despite his age, Bruce is thought to be spry enough to take part in breeding.

On Saturday, as the park was being picketed by protesters from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals alleging that SeaWorld mistreats animals, park officials pointed to the treatment of Bruce as a sign of SeaWorld's commitment to the well-being of sea creatures.

"The allegations of the protesters are, as always, baseless and utterly false," said a park spokesman. "There is no organization more passionately committed to the physical, mental and social care and well-being of animals than SeaWorld."

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Bruce, the ailing green sea turtle being treated at SeaWorld in San Diego. Credit: SeaWorld San Diego