Are you smarter than a sea turtle? Don’t answer until you meet WOW’s “Adopt an Animal” subjects

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 2:58 PM CST
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Today is #GivingTuesday, a global day of generosity where people are encouraged to volunteer and give money to a charity or non-profit.

The Wonders of Wildlife chose Tuesday to unveil its “Adopt an Animal” program to promote its mission of conservation.

“This will be a fun new way for wildlife lovers of all ages to connect at a deeper level with WOW’s not-for-profit conservation mission, and symbolically become a proud parent by directly contributing to the well being of the animals in our care,” explained Shelby Stephenson, WOW’s Public Relations Manager.

The first animals that are up for adoption (symbolically) are a pair of endangered sea turtles who have an interesting story to tell.

You’ve no doubt heard the saying or seen the TV show “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?”

Well at Wonders of Wildlife, the question is “Are you smarter than a sea turtle?”

Female green sea turtles Izzy and Miss Pam are summoned to dinner each day by colored targets about the size of a stop sign that are placed in the water on the end of a stick. One target has a circle on it, the other a square.

“Animals are often very good at distinguishing shapes,” explained Mike Daniel, WOW’s General Curator. “Because they are curious and like to investigate different items we’ll use the different targets that the turtles have learned is their cue to come and receive portions of their diet.”

Izzy and Miss Pam are more than just smart turtles...they’re rare ones.

“There are seven species of sea turtles that share the world’s oceans,” Daniel pointed out. “Six are endangered.”

Both of the turtles were brought to Springfield for rehab after sustaining injuries in the ocean.

Izzy was found three years ago off the coast of North Carolina with a skull fracture.

“Izzy was most likely a boat strike victim and had some severe physical trauma from that,” Daniel said.

Miss Pam was also likely hit by a boat near Sarasota, Florida leading to the need for weights to be placed on the back of her shell when she arrived a year ago. The weights help her swim at an even keel.

“Her body was listing upward at a pretty severe angle which made it pretty difficult for her to take a natural breath and to be successful finding food,” Daniel said.

Unable to return to the wild because of their physical limitations, Miss Pam and Izzy are now helping spread WOW’s conservation message of the need to preserve our natural wonders and care for our animal friends.

“Our hope is our guests are really inspired to go out and be a positive influence in their environment,” Daniel said.

“Many people in the community may not even know that Wonders of Wildlife is a not-for-profit facility,” Stephenson added. “And beyond Izzy and Miss Pam Wonders of Wildlife is home to 35,000 live animals and that’s so much more than just fish. That’s mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds and it’s a lot of hungry mouths to feed. Many of the animals here do require specialized care and attention and the new “Adopt an Animal” program really allows guests to be a part of that story.”

The $80 adoption package includes a sea turtle plush in a special carry crate as well as an adoption certificate and fact card. The money raised directly provides the critical funding needed to ensure the care of all the live animals. A standard package is also offered at $20 that includes everything but the plush and carry crate.

For more information you can go to: or call 888-222-6060.

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