Giant Sea Turtle Returns to Audubon Aquarium of the Americas; ‘King Midas’ Evacuated After Katrina Returns to New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ — One of the animals evacuated from Audubon Aquarium of the Americas will return to his New Orleans home on Thursday. King Midas — a giant green sea turtle — was evacuated from the aquarium following Hurricane Katrina and taken to a temporary home at Moody Gardens Aquarium in Galveston.

King Midas is truly a giant, even by turtle standards. He weighs approximately 300 pounds and is nearly four-and-a-half feet long. He has been in captivity longer than any other green sea turtle. King Midas came to New Orleans in 1992 after a 23-year stay at the New York Aquarium at Coney Island. His actual age is a mystery; there are no records to indicate how old he was when he arrived in New York. Some experts have even estimated his age at more than seventy years.

King Midas will take a six-to-eight-hour overland journey to New Orleans. Transport will begin Wednesday around midnight so the giant turtle stays as cool as possible during his trip. He’s expected to arrive in New Orleans at 9:00 a.m. central time.

WHO: King Midas returns to New Orleans
WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 13, 2005 approx. 9:00 a.m. Central time
WHERE: Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, New Orleans

In New Orleans, “King Midas” lives in the huge 400,000-gallon Gulf of Mexico exhibit. He is the first animal to return to the Aquarium following its post-Katrina evacuation. Other animals including the Aquarium’s penguin colony are still in temporary homes across the country. “Seeing King Midas return to the Aquarium is a symbol that the Aquarium and New Orleans will rebuild,” said Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman.

Zoos and Aquarium’s across the nation are joining together for “Audubon October,” a fundraising effort to generate much-needed funds to help Audubon rebuild and reopen. Donations can be made at local zoos and aquariums through the month of October, or online at http://www.auduboninstitute.org/ .

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