Dot, the Green Sea Turtle, joined the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium as a featured animal on exhibit in 2014. In December of 2021, about eight years after her arrival in the Port of Dubuque, she passed away from health complications.
In 2013, Dot was rescued after being found with injuries that left damage to her spinal cord and caused flipper paralysis and decreased mobility within her GI tract. She came to the River Museum from the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and guests were able to watch her grow from a young 13-pound turtle to a 58-pound turtle in the succeeding years.
The Living Collections team at the River Museum worked tirelessly to provide Dot with the best possible care at all times. Her specialized medical needs required regular checkups with veterinary teams as well as consulting vets who have many years of expertise working with the issues commonly seen in marine turtles such as Dot.
Dot was taken off exhibit prior to her passing for special care and monitoring of issues stemming from her flipper paralysis. It was hoped she would be put back in public view in December; however, weeks prior to her passing, Dot began to show patterns of anorexia and lethargic behavior. As with all our animal residents, a necropsy was performed; however, the results were inconclusive.
“While we wish her time with us would have been longer, we know that she never would have survived her injuries in the wild, and we owe gratitude to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center for rescuing her in 2013 before she came to our facility,” Abby Urban, Curator of Living Collections, said.
“The loss of Dot has saddened the entire team at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. Her charisma and charm were obvious, and it was hard to be around Dot and not feel this positive energy.”
“We miss seeing her daily interactions with people and other animals in the collection. We are comforted by the fact that Dot impacted so many people during her almost eight years here at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium.”