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LOOK: 2 Entangled Leatherback Sea Turtles Rescued at Cape Cod Bay

Aug 29, 2016 07:15 AM EDT
Sea turtle
Center for Coastal Studies responders work to free entangled leatherback turtle.
(Photo : CCS image taken under NMFS permit #50 CFR 222-310 for Press Release)

Two leatherback sea turtles have been disentangled yesterday in Cape Cod Bay in Massachusets by the Marine Animal Entanglement Response team (MAER) at the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS).

According to an exclusive press release sent to Nature World News, there have been more and more cases of leatherback sightings in the recent days. Experts believe that these marine animals are moving to local waters to find food such as jellyfish.

The first entanglement happened at around 9 a.m. off Billingsgate Shoal, Wellfleet. A commercial fisherman found the entangled sea turtle. Weighing around 400 pounds and is relatively small, the sea turtle was caught by its neck and front flippers in a buoy line. Luckily, despite the entanglement, the animal could still breathe.

To free the first turtle, the MAER team used a grappling, which was then hoisted beneath the turtle to bring the animal near the team's response vessel, and then disentangle it. Meanwhile, the MAER team received another entangled leatherback case off Pamet Harbour, Trurro from recreational boaters.

The second leatherback turtles was also small, caught by its neck and flippers, but was relatively more active than the first turtle. Both leatherback sea turtles are in good condition with minor injuries, the rescue team said.

The leatherback sea turtle, according to National Geographic, holds the record for the largest turtle on Earth as this animal could grow for as long as seven feet and weigh more than 2,000 pounds. Unlike other sea turtles with hard shells, the leatherback sea turtle has a softer, more flexible carapace.

What makes this species unique is that it's the only remaining specie of a family of turtles that traces its origin more than 100 million years ago. In the past, leatherback sea turtles are prevalent across the globe, with populations thriving in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. However, the population of this majestic species is rapidly declining.

The CCS is advising boaters and mariners to keep an eye on any entangled turtles. Any cases of entangled turtles should be reported to the USCG on Channel 16 or the CCS Hotline at 1-800-900-3622.

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