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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 April 2006, 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK
Myrtle the turtle is ocean bound
A turtle
Loggerhead sea turtles are a threatened species
A sea turtle nursed back from the brink of death by Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary staff is to return to the wild.

Loggerhead turtle Myrtle is to be flown to Gran Canaria on 24 April and released into the Atlantic Ocean.

Myrtle was washed up on North Uist in June 2004 with a flipper missing after a suspected shark attack.

She was taken to the sanctuary on the shores of Loch Creran, near Oban, and is now strong enough to be returned to the ocean.

Displays supervisor Jamie Dyer said: "She was in a really bad way.

"She was clearly malnourished, she was hypothermic from days in much colder waters than she was used to, and she also had some nasty infections."

Myrtle's initial care involved round-the-clock monitoring, tube feeding, courses of antibiotics and very gradual raising of her body temperature.

Turtle hospital

Three months after her rescue, she was moved to Scarborough Sea Life centre to further her recuperation.

The turtle has been fitted with a special identification tag on her left shoulder.

She will be flown to Las Palmas from Manchester Airport and spend a night in a turtle hospital at the Centro de Recuperation de Fauna on the outskirts of Gran Canaria's capital.

Provided she shows no signs of any adverse reaction to her journey she will be released into the surf on a quiet nearby beach in the early hours of the following morning.

Mr Dyer said: "It will be a very poignant moment when she swims away to freedom.

"It will be more than ample reward for the long weeks of intensive care, and all the sleepless nights suffered when she first came to us."


SEE ALSO:
Myrtle the Turtle is set free
10 Apr 03 |  Europe


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