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TURTLY AWESOME; Saved loggerhead set for Canaries.


A LOGGERHEAD turtle will be returned to the sea in the Canaries a year after it was saved by an Irish sanctuary.

Aer Lingus has answered an appeal from the Clare-based Irish Whale and Dolphin Group for someone to fly "Leona" to Gran Canaria.

She has spent the last 12 months in the care of the Galway Atlantiquarium.

The medium-sized turtle, usually found at this time of year around the Cape Verde Islands of the coast of West Africa, was discovered stranded at Seafield near Quilty, Co Clare, last November.

She is most likely from the Mediterranean or Caribbean and has out of her normal warm waters.

When found she was severely bruising, had a damaged shell, and pneumonia and was in a coma for the first few days.

The discovery was just the third recording of the species on Irish shores in the I W D G 's database following finds in Wexford in 2008.

IWDG director and marine biology lecturer at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology Dr Simon Berrow initially took the turtle home to care for it.

But just 24 hours later, he feared she had died.

However, Leona started moving again in his van as he made an emergency dash to the Galway Atlantiquarium.

Now Leona has made a full recovery and is ready to be returned to the sea - but not in our chilly waters.

Efforts have been ongoing for weeks to try and find a way of transporting her to the warm waters of the Canary Islands, where expert Dr Pascual Calabuig is waiting to receive her.

Dr Calabuig is head of its Centre for Wildlife Recovery.

In a public appeal this month, Dr Berrow said: "Unfortunately we cannot find a way of flying her to the Canaries due to issues with transport of a live animal, long overnights in the hold in Madrid with no access to her."

But yesterday he confirmed Aer Lingus will fly Leona back on Tuesday.

cLb Following a call from IWDG and the assistance of Rod Penrose in Wales as well as Dublin Zoo, the carrier has managed to find a way to transport Leona within the cabin.

faPwtmwLc Two staff from the Galway Atlantiquarium t will travel with the turtle courtesy of Aer Lingus while the IWDG will cover their accommodation and expenses.

The charity is now fundraising to cover these costs as well as the costs of drugs and analysis during Leona's rehabilitation.

Leona has recovered and will be returned to the sea but not in our chilly water



shell be fine Dr Simon Berrow with Leona on day she was rescued

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Nov 28, 2014
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