Yawkey the giant leatherback sea turtle has returned to the wild.
The 475-pound endangered sea turtle, who was rescued by the South Carolina Aquarium sea turtle rescue program last week, was returned to the ocean after a few days of rehabilitation. In the video above, we see Yawkey being carried into the aquarium after getting stranded.
"Leatherback sea turtles can endure much cooler temperatures than other sea turtle species, so Yawkey was acclimated to coastal temperatures in her tank," the rescue program wrote on their Facebook page. "Over the course of a few days, the turtle immediately responded well to treatment, enabling our veterinarian to clear her for release."
According the video, Yawkey is believed to be under 10 years old (mature leatherbacks can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and reach 45 years of age, NPR notes), and was treated to antibiotics and other fluid treatments. At first, experts were unsure of the turtle's gender, but according to the video, Yawkey is believed to be female.
Experts say leatherback turtles have very sensitive skin, and while the number of them in the Atlantic ocean seem to be stable or increasing, the National Geographic says the Pacific population is declining due to fishing and egg harvesting.
Watch the video above to see Yawkey's journey in action and take a look at some of the pictures of her rescue and release below.
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