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Aquarium says freed leatherback sea turtle appears to be doing well

The 655-pound leatherback sea turtle rescued in Truro last week appears to be doing well after being released by the New England Aquarium, the aquarium said.

The turtle, which was near death when found stranded on the beach, was given a satellite tag and released on Sept. 22 about 2 miles south of Harwichport. On Thursday, it was about 120 miles south of Nantucket. It was the first released leatherback to receive a satellite tag. The aquarium hopes to track the turtle’s travels for up to three months.

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Aquarium veterinarians determined that the 7-foot turtle would recover best in the ocean and before releasing the turtle gave it a long-term dose of medicine and supplements expected to aid its recovery for about a week.

Leatherbacks are the largest sea turtle and typically weigh around 1,000 pounds. Leatherbacks found stranded rarely survive because they only strand themselves when critically ill, the aquarium said.

Leatherback sea turtles in the Atlantic migrate to New England to feed on jellyfish in the summer and return south in the autumn, the aquarium said. It is projected that leatherbacks will become extinct in the Pacific Ocean in the next 30 years.

Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at
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