Sea turtle returns home after recovery
Animal rights activists have released a loggerhead turtle, also known as Caretta Caretta, back into the wild on the Turkish Cyprus coast.
The loggerhead turtle named Astrid was found heavily injured on the coast of Girne in Turkish Cyprus in September 2015 and was held in captivity for four years while she recovered from her injuries.
She had wounds and fractures on her head, inflicted by unknown suspects, and visual impairment in one eye. A veterinary hospital at Near East University took her in and gave her medical treatment.
The hospital, in cooperation with a rehabilitation center for wild animals, treated and rehabilitated the turtle for four years before releasing her back into the sea.
Animal rights activists, locals, university officials and veterinarians who cared for Astrid for years attended a farewell ceremony for the turtle on the Girne coast.
Assistant professor Nazım Kaşot, who was among the veterinarians helping Astrid's recovery at a rehabilitation center for turtles, said he was happy to send her back to the sea. "It was a long and challenging process for her, but she completed it," he told reporters at the ceremony.
Loggerhead sea turtles are among the species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of threatened species. They are found in almost every ocean and sea worldwide and Turkey's southern and southwestern beaches are among their breeding grounds.
Loggerhead sea turtles are the largest hard-shelled sea turtles alive and have an average lifespan of between 30 to 62 years in the wild.