WATCH: Massive 600 lb. sea turtle rescued and released back into the ocean

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 4:02 PM EDT
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PROVINCETOWN, Mass. (Gray News) – A massive leatherback sea turtle was released back into the ocean after several organizations worked together to help the stranded animal.

According to the New England Aquarium, the 600-pound turtle was stranded on a mudflat along the Herring River.

“We wanted to keep it off the oysters and keep it from stranding somewhere we couldn’t rescue it. If it got away, there was no telling where it would strand next,” said Bob Prescott, director emeritus for Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.

Three agencies worked together to safely move the stranded turtle using a specially designed transport cart, stretchers and mats.

They agreed to relocate and release the turtle after a health assessment of the turtle.

“Our initial evaluation indicated that the turtle was very strong and in good body condition, and this helped us to decide that it was a good candidate for release,” said Dr. Charles Innis, director of animal health at the New England Aquarium.

The aquarium put small identification tags on the turtle to track and determine if it survives the next 30 days, in addition to monitoring its migration patterns over the next five to 10 years.

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