The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group has confirmed that Leona the Loggerhead Turtle, who was washed up at Seafield in County Clare in 2013, has begun her journey back to the wild.
It is just over one year since the turtle was found comatosed by Lorna King on the beach near Quilty.
The IWDG says Leona has left Galway Atlantiquarium and will be transported by Aer Lingus from Dublin Airport to Gran Canaria later today.
According to the IWDG: “Through the fantastic efforts of the Galway Atlantiquarium and Galway County Council vet Rita Gately the turtle is now fully recovered and ready to return to the sea. A few weeks ago we were struggling to find a way to Gran Canaria for Leona having exhausted all traditional ways of transporting live animals.”
“Following a call from IWDG and the assistance of Rod Penrose in Wales and Dublin Zoo, Aer Lingus have managed to find a way to transport Leona within the cabin. Rita and Joanna from the Galway Atlantiquarium are travelling with the turtle courtesy of Aer Lingus and returning on Saturday 6 December.”
“IWDG will cover the costs of accommodation and expenses for Rita and Joanna and we are starting a fundraising campaign to cover these costs and the costs of drugs and analysis of samples taken during her rehabilitation,” the organisation added.
Leona was named after the French ship, The Leon, which was driven up on to rocks in Quilty Bay in 1907.