A very big sea turtle is swimming free again after a team effort to help the hefty animal.
The 5-foot-long, 600-pound adult male leatherback was spotted stranded on a Cape Cod, Massachusetts, mudflat on Sunday. Rescuers with the Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary showed up quickly to keep the distressed turtle from drifting somewhere harder for people to access, local news station WHDH reported.
The organization then joined forces with the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the New England Aquarium to transport the turtle and get him the care he needed.
That involved moving the big guy in a “heavy-duty” cart typically used for dolphins and small whales, according to an IFAW statement.
The big turtle before he headed back to his home in the sea.
Sea turtle strandings happen in the fall in Cape Cod when temperatures drop and turtles aren’t able to figure out how to swim out of Cape Cod Bay to make way for warmer waters, according to the Cape Cod Times.
In this case, the turtle was in relatively good health despite his predicament.
“When working with stranded sea turtles in New England, it’s a rarity to have a turtle that is in such good condition,” Dr. Kara Dodge, a research scientist with the New England Aquarium, told CapeCod.com.
Responders moved the turtle to Herring Cove in Provincetown, where he received injections of vitamins and an anti-inflammatory before being released. (You can watch the joyous event in the video above.) He also got a satellite tag to let researchers track his whereabouts going forward.
Dodge added that the turtle had likely simply become “disoriented,” and that “we feel optimistic” he’ll be OK.
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