Tags: 475 pound | sea turtle | returned | wild | yawkey

475-Pound Leatherback Sea Turtle Returned to Wild in SCarolina

By    |   Friday, 13 Mar 2015 01:29 PM

A 475-pound leatherback sea turtle named Yawkey was returned to the ocean Thursday after it washed ashore and was captured earlier this week near an island reserve in Georgetown, South Carolina, according to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program.

The turtle, which was found on the Yawkey-South Island Reserve on March 7, was one of a only a handful of leatherback stranding ever reported in the United States and the first in South Carolina history, according to the aquarium.

Yawkey showed no signs of trauma and was in good shape overall despite appearing lethargic. The turtle responded to a treatment of antibiotics, fluids, and vitamins, and veterinarians cleared it for release.



"Due to the fact that leatherback sea turtles do poorly in a captive environment, it was priority for Sea Turtle Hospital team members to return Yawkey to the wild as quickly as possible," the aquarium said in a statement. "Despite being cold-blooded reptiles, leatherback sea turtles can generate some body heat and can endure much cooler temperatures than other sea turtle species."

South Carolina Aquarium spokeswoman Kate Dittloff told National Public Radio that the staff was "beyond excited" about the rare leatherneck turtle find. The staff could not determine Yawkey's gender because it is still too young to have a mature reproductive system.

Aquarium officials said they believe Yawkey is about 10 to 15 years old. Leatherbacks can grow to weigh about a ton when fully mature, according to NPR. The aquarium stated that leatherback turtles are the largest on Earth and protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The turtles are known to migrate during the spring and fall seasons. LiveScience.com wrote that the leatherback turtle populations in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans regularly cross back and forth between continents for feeding and nesting.

The aquarium celebrated Yawkey's return to the wild at Isle of Palms, South Carolina, in a Facebook post.

 


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A 475-pound leatherback sea turtle named Yawkey was returned to the ocean Thursday after it washed ashore and was captured earlier this week near an island reserve in Georgetown, South Carolina, according to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program.
475 pound, sea turtle, returned, wild, yawkey
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2015-29-13
Friday, 13 Mar 2015 01:29 PM
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