This massive 388-pound loggerhead with battle scars – nearly 40 pounds heavier than the maximum weight of her rare species – has done her best to live up to the glamorous, gritty rock and roll band she’s been for. named: Queen.
She was so close to death when she was rescued on July 31 from a beach on the south shore, no mention was made of her arrival until Thursday, shortly before she was released. at her Atlantic Ocean home Thursday night in Hampton Bays.
“She’s definitely ready to go,” said Maxine Montello, director of the rescue program at the New York nonprofit Marine Rescue Center in Riverhead, as Queen swam in her tank on Thursday.
“This girl is definitely a dinosaur; the youngest, I think she’s between 30 and 40, but I really think she’s on the lower end of the scale.”
Queen is by far the biggest loggerhead that the rescue center has helped. She even outshines Munchkin, the 330-pound giant loggerhead that the New England Aquarium healed and released in 2019.
When found on Ho-Hum Beach in Bellport, Queen’s shell appeared to bear the marks of being struck by ships and some fins had been injured by a predator or boat.
Barnacles covered much of her shell, face and beak, a sign that she hadn’t moved much, Montello said, and her skin had darkened, likely damaged by sunlight, revealing that she had been floating for some time.
Severely dehydrated, underweight, and possibly suffering from pneumonia, she needed injections of subcutaneous fluids, vitamins, and other medications, and was initially too weak to swim in anything other than small reservoirs. deep.
“She had been in pain for a while,” Montello said, greeting boaters who called the rescue hotline after finding her. “The minute we saw her, we knew it would be a tough business.”
Protected in the United States as an endangered species, which means they are likely to become endangered, loggerheads can swim from Newfoundland to Argentina, experts say.
Their survival is threatened by a multitude of problems, with collisions with boats being among the deadliest, according to the researchers. Entanglement in fishing nets and lines, along with pollution, coastal lighting and development and nest predation also cloud their future, according to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, a nonprofit in Gainesville, Fla. .
It is unusual for rescue centers in New York and New England to find sick adults, Montello said, as they seem more likely to show up further south.
The cold-dizzying season, during which typically younger sea turtles can succumb to hypothermia after failing to make their way to the warmer southern waters before fall begins later this month , she said.
A total of 45 sea turtles that washed up on shore were rehabilitated this year at the New York Marine Rescue Center, up from 32 the previous season.
While Queen wasn’t a cold-stunned victim, the center knew that if they could cure her, she would be too big to be transported south, as are her young sea turtles. It’s not just their weight, Montello said, large turtles can’t handle the stress of flights.
So for Queen, “It’s a last minute outing before our times change,” she continued.
Queen has been tagged so her rescuers and the public can see where she is going next.
To see where Queen is traveling, visit the centre’s website: nymarinerescue.org.