Not long ago, the future seemed bleak for this endangered male sea turtle that washed up on a beach in Israel with two severely damaged flippers. Wildlife rescuers soon determined that it would be necessary to amputate the limbs, even though that meant the animal, given the name Hofesh, might never be at home in the water again.
But thanks to the clever application of aerospace technology, the turtle amputee is finally swimming anew.
While searching for an idea about what his final project at college might be, industrial design student Shlomi Gez happened upon the website of the Israel Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, where Hofesh had been sent to live. The self-described animal-lover decided to pay the facility a visit to see if his design skills could be used to improve the lives of a needy creature.
"As soon as I saw the place, I was inspired," Gez tells Haaretz. "I knew I could help solve their most acute problem, which was Hofesh."
Keepers at the rehab center had tried their best to make life easier for the turtle by attaching a floatation device to side of his shell where he was missing limbs, but it did little to return his mobility. But Gez had just the solution to make that possible.