Leona the loggerhead turtle heads east in search of food

Turtle was released in Gran Canaria last week after recovering in Galway

On Thursday December 4th, over a year after she washed up in a comatose state on the Co. Clare coast, Leona the loggerhead turtle returned to the ocean. Video: Celestial Green Ventures. Music: "Ring The Bell (Instrumental)" by YACHT.

 

The 15-year-old storm-tossed turtle that was flown from Ireland to warmer waters last week is currently swimming east.

While there was some apprehension over the weekend she might be heading back to Ireland, aquarist Joanne Casserley said the animal was probably looking for feeding grounds.

“She hasn’t swum north yet – but if she does head northeast, we would hope she would head for the Mediterranean, where there is a turtle colony,” said Ms Casserley, who accompanied the turtle on an Aer Lingus economy class flight to Gran Canaria last week. The loggerhead sea turtle, named Leona, has been transmitting her position via her GPS tag since her release on Gran Canaria last Thursday.

Rescued

Las Palmas

Galway Atlantaquaria director Liam Twomey, who helped co-ordinate the turtle’s year-long recuperation, admitted some apprehension when he observed her initial eastern course. “We won’t be taking any more phone calls from Quilty beach,” he said.

It was on Seafield strand near Quilty, Co Clare, that local resident Lorna King recovered the severely injured turtle in a comatose state just over a year ago after one of the first winter storms which lashed the Atlantic seaboard.

The turtle, which is one of an endangered species, was taken to Galway by Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group,where it made a remarkable recovery. The turtle’s position may be tracked on website seaturtle.org