Leona the turtle has landed in Las Palmas after flying economy class from Dublin

GPS tracker device will allow turtle’s progress to be tracked on the internet

The storm-tossed 15-year-old loggerhead turtle which was nursed back to health in a Galway aquarium has landed in Gran Canaria this evening for its return to warmer waters.

Aquarist Joanne Casserley, who was part of the Galway Atlantaquaria team which rehabilitated the the turtle, confirmed that "Leona", as she is known, coped well on the flight from Dublin to Las Palmas.

Leona was found in a comatose state on the Co Clare coast by local resident Lorna King after one of last winter's most severe storms.

Aer Lingus offered to fly her to the Canaries, where she will be re-introduced to warmer sea temperatures later this week.


Loggerhead turtles are an endangered species, found in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, and are sometimes swept offcourse by ocean currents to this Atlantic seaboard.

For her journey, the turtle was wrapped in damp material and boarded in a purpose-built wooden box in the main cabin of the Aer Lingus flight, along with Ms Casserley and Galway county vet Rita Gately.

A GPS tracker provided by a company named Celestial Green Ventures will allow the turtle's progress to be followed on the internet, with regular updates on Twitter, and on Galway Atlantaquaria's Facebook page.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times