Photo: Rotterdam Zoo

Turtle flies from Netherlands to Algarve to be returned to the ocean

A loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), two years old, has arrived 11th of August, by dawn, to the Zoomarine, in Albufeira (Algarve, Portugal), coming from the Rotterdam Zoo. Here it will complete its rehabilitation and will be returned to the Atlantic Ocean, off Portimão’s coast, in a few weeks.


This loggerhead sea turtle, one of the world’s seven species of sea turtles, was found on Netherland’s coasts on 11th January. It weighted 2,1 kilos. And this was a surprising thing to have happened. “It’s very uncommon for sea turtles to aground so up north and, specially, in so cold waters”, said Élio Vicente, Portuguese marine biologist in Zoomarine. These turtles usually live in tropical and subtropical seas and in more temperate waters.


Tartaruga arrojada


Still, biologists believe this sea turtle, a juvenile, was migrating. “This is a young turtle with two or three years old. It’s in its lost years, a time when turtles travel long distances in the Atlantic Ocean”, Élio Vicente said.

After several months recovering in Rotterdam Zoo, this sea turtle arrived on 11th August at the Faro Airport from Rotterdam, with a stop in Lisbon. TAP CARGO offered the transportation.


Primeiros exames veterinários

First vet exams


According to Élio Vicente, “all went well”. The sea turtle “travelled inside a special cage, made of wood and with a soft material to protect the animal from any bump. The transport zone was kept at 21ºC to 23ºC degrees”.

At 02:00 am, the sea turtle arrived at the rehabilitation center in Zoomarine.

Now, it will “rest to compensate the stress during the flight”, Élio Vicente explained. Besides, “it will be fed with an extra supply of fish, shrimps and squids and vets will have a close watch to decide when it could be returned to the ocean. That could happen at the end of August or by the start of September.”

The Portuguese Navy will cooperate in this release.