An endangered green sea turtle that nearly died while trapped in fishing line has found a new home in – of all places – Kansas City.
Gertrude, who lost a front flipper, has been recovering at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium since she was rescued in September 2011.
On Monday, she flew from Tampa International Airport inside the cabin of a Southwest Airlines jet.
Destination: the 10-month-old Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium, far from where a Pinellas County fisherman found the turtle with fishing line around her neck and front flippers.
One flipper had to be amputated and the other had to be fused, so she can no longer flee predators, the Clearwater facility said.
So she'll be Missouri's first sea turtle.
Southwest made a travel exception for Gertrude, waiving her pet fee and allowing her to fly in the cabin. Alongside was Aaron Sprowl, display curator for the Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium.
Gertrude will begin her stay in a holding tank at Sea Life Kansas City until being released in the aquarium's ocean tank for display. The aquarium opened last April.