Rescued turtle holly heads south to sanctuary

A young loggerhead sea turtle found on a Scottish beach in December is well enough to make the first leg of her journey back to the wild.

Loggerhead turtle Holly was found at Ardmucknish Bay by 16-year-old Robert Sayer of Daluaine, Ledaig when he was out walking his dog.

Nursed back to health by staff at The Scottish SEA LIFE Sanctuary in Barcaldine, Holly has been declared fit enough to travel south to a new purpose-built turtle sanctuary in Weymouth, Dorset.

And Robert, who has been helping care for Holly as a voluntary worker at the Sanctuary, will be there to wave her goodbye when she leaves at 6am, Monday, 5th of February 2007.

"Holly is so cute that she´s captured the hearts of staff and visitors alike," said the Sanctuary´s Claire Rowlands.

"Robert obviously feels a special attachment to her, but though he´ll be sorry in one sense to see her go he´ll also be glad that she´s well on the way to regaining her freedom in the wild."

Holly was hypothermic and severely malnourished when she was found, but her temperature was gradually raised and she is now swimming freely in her own quarantine pool at the Sanctuary.

"She has been feeding well on strips of herring and sand eel and is gaining weight every day," said Claire.

Provided she continues to make good progress at the Weymouth sanctuary, Holly will quickly move into a large tropical ocean tank to build her stamina.

There she will join Skye, a three-flippered loggerhead who was also cared for by the Scottish Sanctuary and moved to Weymouth in October.

Both turtles could be flown out to Gran Canaria for release this coming spring.

The turtle sanctuary at Weymouth SEA LIFE Park was opened last summer in resonse to a growing number of turtle strandings around the UK coast.

It is also caring for another large loggerhead with only three flippers that was found on the South Wales coast before Christmas, and a very rare Kemp´s Ridley turtle...from the Mexican coast...which washed up in Devon earlier this month.

Although Skye was given an airlift to Dorset with the help of Loch Lomond Seaplanes, Holly is thought well enough to make the journey by road.

Claire will drive her as far as the SEA LIFE centre in Blackpool where she will be collected by Weymouth marine biologist Sarah Leaney, who will take her the rest of the way.

Robert´s emotional farewell to Holly on Monday morning could provide good pictures.
Date: Monday 5th of February 2007.
Time: 6am.
Venue: Scottish SEA LIFE Sanctuary, Barcaldine, Oban.

For more details, Please contact: Alex Blackman on 01631 720386.

Press Release date: 4th February 2007

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