Rare sea turtle which lost its way is doing well, zoo says

A Kemps Ridley turtle on a beach. Photo: Jereme Phillips, USFWS

An extremely rare and endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) caught by fishermen off the coast of Walcheren in Zeeland on Friday is recuperating at Blijgaarde zoo.

The Rotterdam zoo is the only place equipped to accommodate the sea turtle, which has to be quarantined for the next few weeks. It will then be transferred to the zoo’s Oceanium fish tank where it will be on public view before being returned to its natural habitat in the Gulf of Mexico next year.

Boeier, named after the ship that caught him in its nets, is doing well and is alert, the zoo said.

Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are one of the rarest turtle species in the world and the smallest sea turtle, growing to no more than 75 centimetres in length. Young Kemp’s Ridely sea turtles are apt to lose their way and end up on northern shores.

This is the seventh turtle of its kind to be found on Dutch shores, two of which survived and were successfully returned to the Gulf of Mexico, the turtles’ sole habitat.

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