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Freedom for giant turtle captured off Phuket

August 3, 2009


PHUKET: A green sea turtle rescued near Phuket  in April this year has finally been given its freedom.   

The turtle, thought to be about 50 years old, was almost a meter long and weighed a massive 120kg.

It was rescued off Koh Bon during an early morning raid by Phuket-based marine inspectors who had been tipped off about an illegal fishing operation.

The turtle, the largest found in Phuket waters in more than 10 years, had been tied to an anchor line by one of its flippers.

Its captors fled and left it to die to avoid being captured.

Marine inspectors managed to rescue the badly injured turtle before it drowned.

They took it to the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC), where vets repaired an 11cm gash in its carapace and nursed it back to good health.

Marine officials organized a special farewell party for the giant turtle, nicknamed ‘loong’  (‘uncle’), before releasing it back into the sea at Cape Panwa last Saturday morning.

More than 200 people turned out to watch the turtle swim to freedom.

Meanwhile a second green turtle was found dead on Patong Beach on Friday.

The animal, dead for four or five days before it was found, was around 20 years old and weighed about 40kg.

PMBC vet Patcharaporn Kaewmorng said she suspected the cause of death was something the animal ate, though further tests would need to confirm this.

The animal was sent to the PMBC for examination.


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