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Out of the Ordinary

Leatherback sea turtle released back into water

The stranded sea turtle has been recovered, treated and set free

Leatherback sea turtles may be an endangered species, but one found by the right hands Sept. 20 was released back into the waters of Cape Cod off Harwich Port after two days of restoration and care.

The seven-foot-long and 655-pound leatherback sea turtle was spotted by a Massachusetts Audubon Society staff member in Pamet Harbor. The black, male turtle was found stranded in thick mud and in threat of a high tide.

A team consisting of New England Aquarium staff and volunteers, and Audubon Society and International Fund for Animal Welfare workers rescued the leatherback sea turtle, according to Boston.com.

Although the turtle weighed in at 655 lbs, it actually was underweight compared to the average size of leatherback sea turtles. Most leatherback sea turtles weigh-in at one thousand pounds. The turtle found stranded was deemed 100 pounds underweight with low blood sugar and an injury to his front right fin, said Connie Merigo, the aquarium’s rescue director.

The leatherback sea turtle was treated at the New England Aquarium in Boston and given a sugar solution, vitamins, minerals, steroids and antibiotics before its release into the waters.

Leatherback sea turtles are an endangered species and the largest reptile in the world, and the treatment of the one thousand pound turtles is difficult for many aquariums due to their size.

After being set free, the leatherback sea turtle swam south towards a jellyfish colony off the coast of Nantucket for food, said Merigo. The aquarium’s director through a satellite feed will track the turtle’s progress, according to Boston.com.

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