Thursday, March 12, 2015

After Rescue, Massive Sea Turtle Will Be Released In S.C.

A 475-pound leatherback sea turtle that was rescued from a remote beach in South Carolina will be returned to the ocean today, after being found stranded ashore and nursed back to health. It took five people to carry the creature, officials say.

The turtle "immediately responded to treatments" of fluids, vitamins and antibiotics after it was rescued Saturday, says spokesperson Kate Dittloff of the South Carolina Aquarium. Today, she adds, "our veterinarian has cleared him/her for release."

A gender can't be determined for the turtle: Despite its size, it's still too young to have a mature reproductive system. It is believed to be around 10 or 15 years old. Mature leatherbacks can reach sizes of up to around 2,000 pounds.

If it's a success, the release would end a rare visit ashore by a leatherback, the world's largest turtle — and one of the largest reptiles. Leatherbacks commonly migrate along the Atlantic Coast, but they usually make the trip much farther out from the coast. npr

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