Point Pleasant Beach, NJ (AP) — If what doesn’t kill you really makes you stronger, the Titan is the strongest turtle in the sea.
The juvenile loggerhead turtle has been crushed by a boat propeller, part of its front flipper was bitten by a shark, and is being attacked by a different shark when two New Jersey fishermen intervene, rescue it and A group called Sea Turtle Recovery. Rescues and rehabilitates turtles before returning to sea.
On Tuesday morning, Titan was among eight turtles that returned to sea after recovering in winter and spring.
“It’s amazing to see a Titan go back to sea after being hit by a boat, bitten by a shark and fighting another shark,” said group co-executive Brandi Behl. “There really is no bigger tortoise in the world than him.”
Based at the aptly named Turtle Back Zoo in South Orange, New Jersey, the group began taking in and treating sick or injured turtles in December 2016. Including Tuesday’s release, they have now recovered and returned 85 turtles to sea.
Most tortoises fall victim to what is called “cold stinging” due to their limbs being nearly closed in waters that become too cold for them in winter instead of migrating to warmer waters. November and December are particularly busy months for the group.
Others were injured by boats or sharks, or developed other diseases. Six of the eight are Kemp’s Ridley turtles, an endangered species. Titan and another tortoise, Petunia, are loggerheads.
One of the rescued turtles, Princess, was found stranded on a beach in Sandy Hook just after Thanksgiving, barely alive. The body temperature of a sea turtle should be above 65 degrees; She was 37 years old when she met.
Others rescued include Donashello, who was stranded in December 2020 when he was forced to swim due to massive lung wounds, and he failed to migrate south before the water became too cold. His condition remained critical for months, but eventually he recovered.
Willow was also stunned and emaciated when she was found on the shore. She refused to eat for over a month, but eventually started eating and was fine.
Slater was found on the beach at Sandy Hook with a front flipper that had to be cut after being crushed by a boat propeller. But they are expected to do well in the ocean with just three flippers, as others have been studied in their position and do well despite their limitations, the group said.
The stone was found in December, he too was barely alive. His heart passed about four separate times during rehabilitation, a type of tortoise requiring resuscitation.
Petunia has been plagued by eye damage that has since healed. She is one of the few turtles equipped with a radio tracking device that will be used to track her movements at sea.
Cortez was in critical condition last December and also had a torn ligament in his front flipper which has since healed.
Sea Turtle Recovery still has four turtles remaining at the Northern New Jersey Recovery Facility that are not yet ready to return to sea.
Follow Wayne Parry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WayneParryAC