Hofesh the sea turtle is getting a new chance at life. The 20-year-old rare green turtle is getting a high-tech fin.
Four years ago, Hofesh washed up on the shores along the Mediterranean Sea. Badly injured after being caught up in a fisherman’s net, he was taken to the Israel Sea Turtle Rescue Center.
There, caretakers were able to nurse Hofesh–whose name means freedom in Hebrew–back to health, but Hofesh still had a big problem.
Due to his injuries, Hofesh had to have the fins on one side of his body amputated. While he was otherwise healthy, the was at a constant risk of drowning even under the watchful care of staff.
“When he gets stressed, panicking for some reason, he gets into a spin as he can only use one side to paddle. His head tilts down to one side and he starts taking in water,” Yaniv Levy, the center’s director explained, pointing out the turtle already had to be resucitated once.
That is when industrial design student Shlomi Gez had an idea. Using a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor Jet as inspiration, Gez developed a stabilizing device for the disabled turtle.
While the results aren’t pretty, Hofesh’s clunky new swim style is still improving and he is able to live a more normal life. Most importantly Hofesh, who could live up to 80 years, is much less likely to drown if he gets stressed again.
While he will never be able to be released from captivity, Hofesh is currently enjoying his role as a minor celebrity at the Rescue Center and may soon have a new mate.
Center staff plan to breed the rare turtle with Sarit, a young female turtle who is at the care center after being blinded in an accident.