Second Live Leatherback Sea Turtle Strands on Cape Beach

EASTHAM – A second leatherback turtle has been recovered from a Cape Cod beach.

Ten days after a leatherback was rescued in Brewster, another one was recovered Sunday from a beach in Eastham.

The latest leatherback was transported to the New England Aquarium’s Animal Center in Quincy where staff immediately began emergency treatment.

The turtle’s prognosis was uncertain.

In the latest stranding, the young turtle weighing approximately 300 pounds was lifted from the sand at First Encounter Beach Sunday afternoon and placed on a cart.

Staff members from Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife were on scene with other volunteers.

Adult leatherbacks can weigh more than 2,000 pounds.

Live leatherback strandings are very rare. When they do come ashore, the turtles are usually dead, often after a vessel strike or entanglement in fishing gear.

Unlike hard-shelled turtles, which have been stranding on the Cape since last month due to cold-stunning, leatherbacks are able to maintain warmer body temperatures.

Sanctuary director Bob Prescott said the latest turtle appeared to be in good condition overall, unlike a leatherback recovered from Ellis Landing in Brewster on November first.

That turtle was significantly underweight and displayed several injuries, including a severe entanglement wound above a front flipper.

It ultimately died following extensive emergency treatment.


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