A loggerhead turtle who was blown thousands of miles from Gran Canaria to Roundstone in Galway will be returning home on a Ryanair flight from Cork next month.
Four-year-old Mara was discovered on a beach in Roundstone by a local woman who was walking her dog and spotted the poorly turtle. Mara was then brought to a vet in Clifden who gently restored Mara’s body temperature after spending some time in the ill-suited North Atlantic Ocean.
Once able, Mara was transferred to Oceanworld Aquarium in Dingle for specialised treatment. “We have previous experience of rehabilitating loggerhead turtles at the aquarium,” animal manager Louise Overy told The Echo.
“Once the turtle’s body temperature is restored, we can introduce it to our large tropical display at 24 degrees Celsius.”
“Mara came to us on Friday the 13th - ironically it was her lucky day! We usually see turtles a lot sicker than what Mara was when she arrived at Oceanworld, with conditions like pneumonia, but Mara was tough and soon we got her restored to a full bill of health,” Louise said.
Extreme weather conditions such as Storm Lorenzo can be responsible for transporting turtles like Mara such great distances from their southerly ocean habitat, but thanks to Ryanair it won’t be long until she is back in home waters.
“We reached out to a number of airlines and Ryanair kindly offered to take Mara on a flight from Cork to Gran Canaria. Mara will be accompanied by two members of the Oceanworld team,” Louise said.
“D-Day for the trip is November 4 and Mara will travel in the normal section of the plane alongside the human passengers”, she continued.
Loggerhead turtles have existed on the planet for 110 million years and are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as endangered. They can live up to 60 or 70 years of age.