Photos: Rescued green sea turtle at home at Sea Life Arizona

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After some delays due to weather, Ziva arrived safe and sound at Sea LIFE Aquarium in Temp Wednesday night. By Catherine Holland After some delays due to weather, Ziva arrived safe and sound at Sea LIFE Aquarium in Temp Wednesday night. By Catherine Holland
SEA LIFE Arizona Curator Dirk and Aquarist Greg open Ziva's travel crate. By Catherine Holland SEA LIFE Arizona Curator Dirk and Aquarist Greg open Ziva's travel crate. By Catherine Holland
Dirk checking on Ziva before moving her into the tank. By Catherine Holland Dirk checking on Ziva before moving her into the tank. By Catherine Holland
Ziva is ready to get into the water! By Catherine Holland Ziva is ready to get into the water! By Catherine Holland
Greg and Amy (from the Georgia Sea Turtle Center) moving Ziva to her new home! By Catherine Holland Greg and Amy (from the Georgia Sea Turtle Center) moving Ziva to her new home! By Catherine Holland

TEMPE, Ariz. and SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Where does an injured green sea turtle go to live out its life after spending 18 months recovering from severe injuries? The Arizona desert, of course.

Ziva, who might be related to Crush from Disney's "Finding Nemo," arrived Wednesday night and is the first of her kind at Sea Life Arizona. Actually she's the first of her kind to take up residence in Arizona.

Ziva came to the Grand Canyon State from Georgia. She was hit by a boat in October 2010. Veterinarians at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island treated and rehabilitated the badly injured green sea turtle. It was a process that took a year and a half.

While the vets were able to save Ziva's life, her injuries caused some permanent issues that make it impossible for her to be returned the wild.

Vets first put Ziva in a life vest to help with her buoyancy in the water. That, however, kept her on the surface -- not a sea turtle's favorite place. Once she was strong enough, the team at GSTC came up with another solution.

Special weights at specific places on her shell help her swim and dive. While she does well most of the time, vets at GSTC says she flips over every now and then and does the occasional barrel role, neither of which is usual for a sea turtle.

The vets who treated Ziva decided she would make an excellent ambassador for her species, hence her journey to the Valley of the Sun.

Right now Ziva weighs about 35 pounds, but she's going to grow -- a lot.

In the wild, a green sea turtle can grow up to 440 pounds and live to be about 80 years old. Ziva and her brethren have heart-shaped hard shells, small heads and single-clawed flippers.

Adults eat sea grasses and marine algae. Hatchlings tend to have more varied diets.

On Wednesday, Ziva left the Georgia Sea Turtle Center that has been her home since he was hurt, and made her way to her new home in the desert -- a 161,000-gallon tank at Sea Life Arizona, one of the state's two aquariums. Bringing Ziva to Tempe required some major changes to the tank to make her more comfortable. The sharks and rays had to be moved to Sea Life's Carlsbad location while the tank was drains and the Ziva-friendly modifications made.

It will take some time for Ziva to acclimate to the Sea Life Arizona tank and make friends with her new neighbors, including those sharks and rays. While you might catch a glimpse of her in the next couple of weeks, Sea Life Aquarium expects to Ziva on permanent display starting March 2.

Opened in May 2010, Sea Life Arizona in Tempe celebrated its first anniversary over the summer. It's one of 35 Sea Life locations throughout the world.

We will add new photos once Ziva is settled into her new home in the desert.

Sea Life Arizona is located at Arizona Mills Mall, 5000 Arizona Mills Circle, Tempe. For more information, call 480-478-7600 or visit www.visitsealife.com/Arizona.