The queen (the loggerhead turtle) is making a comeback in the Atlantic Ocean

This huge, battle-scarred 388-pound Loggerhead – nearly 40 pounds heavier than the maximum weight of her rare species – did her best to live up to the glamorous, gritty rock and roll band for which she served. was named: Queen.

She was so close to death when she was rescued on July 31 from a south shore beach that 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, rescue program director at the nonprofit New York Marine Rescue Center in Riverhead, as Queen swam in her tank on Thursday.

“This girl is definitely a dinosaur; the youngest I think is between 30 and 40, but I really think it’s in the lower bracket.”

Queen is by far the largest loggerhead the rescue center has helped. She even surpasses Munchkin, the 330-pound giant loggerhead that the New England Aquarium cured and released in 2019.

When found on Bellport’s Ho-Hum Beach, Queen’s shell appeared to bear the marks of having been struck by ships and some of the fins had been injured by a predator or boat.

Barnacles covered much of her shell, face and beak, a sign she hadn’t moved much, Montello said, and her skin had darkened, likely damaged by sunlight, revealing that it had been floating for some time.

Queen, a 388-pound female adult loggerhead sea turtle, is seen August 31, the first day Queen was moved to a large outdoor tank in New York at Riverhead. Credit: Shannon Flannery

Severely dehydrated, underweight and possibly suffering from pneumonia, she required subcutaneous fluid injections, vitamins and other medications, and was initially too weak to swim in anything other than shallow to inside the tanks.

“She had been in pain for a while,” Montello said, greeting boaters who called the rescue hotline after finding her. “As soon as we saw her, we knew it was going to be a tough deal.”

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 jeopardized by a host of issues, with collisions with boats being among the deadliest, researchers say. Entanglements in fishing nets and lines, along with pollution, coastal lighting and development, and nest predation are also clouding their future, according to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, a nonprofit organization in Gainesville, Washington. Florida.

Queen, a 388 pound adult female loggerhead sea turtle is seen...

Queen, a 388-pound female adult loggerhead sea turtle, is seen August 31, the first day Queen was moved to a large outdoor tank in New York at Riverhead. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

It’s unusual for rescue centers in New York and New England to find sick adults, Montello said, because they seem more likely to show up further south.

Cold stun season, when typically younger sea turtles may succumb to hypothermia after failing to head for warmer southern waters before fall begins later this month, she said.

A total of 45 stranded sea turtles were rehabilitated this year at the New York Marine Rescue Center, up from 32 the previous season.

Although Queen did not suffer a cold snap, the center knew that if it could cure her, she would be too big to be transported south, as her young sea turtles are. 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 weather changes,” she continued.

Queen, a 388 pound adult female loggerhead sea turtle is seen...

Queen, a 388-pound female adult loggerhead sea turtle, is seen August 31, the first day Queen was moved to a large outdoor tank in New York at Riverhead. Credit: New York Maritime Rescue Center

Queen has been tagged so her rescuers and the public can see where she is heading next.

To see where Queen travels, visit the center’s website: nymarinerescue.org.