An “exhausted” giant leatherback sea turtle rescued from Meia Praia beach in Lagos on Thursday (June 20) is now being rehabilitated at Guia’s Zoomarine theme park.
The turtle, which was entangled in fishing nets, was spotted struggling in the water and was brought to shore with the help of beachgoers, who helped lift it onto a vehicle to be taken to Zoomarine’s marine life rehabilitation centre.
Says Zoomarine, the turtle, which weighs 300 kilos and measures 1.5 metres, has been “medically checked” and has begun a “complex rehabilitation programme which will involve days of challenges”.
The theme park explains that this species of turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), which usually weighs between 250 and 300 kilos, is particularly hard to handle because it is so big, and its lack of a bony shell makes it especially prone to skin injuries and infections.
The turtle may also develop pneumonia, says the park, as a result of the water it inhaled during the “minutes or hours” that it was caught in the net.
“However, no matter how easy or hard, or how long it will take, the challenge is to rehabilitate this magnificent male specimen of the largest species of sea turtle and return it to the sea as quickly as possible,” the theme park says.
Zoomarine also thanks the members of local maritime authorities, lifeguards and beachgoers who helped rescue the massive turtle.
“To all of you, thank you for the selfless way you gave your time and energy to help this turtle. We will do everything we can to make sure it wasn’t all in vain.”