The U.S. Coast Guard and Mystic Aquarium teamed up on Thursday to save the life of a 600-pound Leatherback Turtle. The animal was spotted in distress three-or-four miles south of Charlestown.
Crews immediately responded after the Coast Guard received a call around 1:00 pm, from a fisherman who spotted the large animal. Upon arriving, the seven-man Coast Guard team, Aquarium staff, and the Aquarium's Sea Turtle Disentanglement Team worked carefully to remove the nets entangled around the turtle's neck and body. Once freed, the Turtle swam back out to sea, uninjured aside from minor abrasions on his neck and flippers.
The fisherman, Coast Guard crew, and team from the Aquarium should be proud of their diligent work – without their help, the turtle definitely would not have survived. Rescues like this are important for species like the Leatherback Turtle, which are highly endangered and protected by the Endangered Species Act. Leatherbacks are the largest sea turtles alive today, ranging from 500 to 1200 pounds and measuring in at up to five and a half feet long.