Endangered turtle released into wild for second time in two years

For the second time its life, an endangered turtle was released back into the wild Thursday morning, months after volunteers and staffers found it stranded on the shores of Cape Cod, officials said.Staffers from the Massachusetts Audubon Society rescued “Aluminum”, a Kemp’s ridley turtle, last winter — two years after it was found stranded in Eastham, the New England Aquarium said in a statement. Along with a loggerhead sea turtle, a threatened species, Aluminum was released into the ocean with satellite tags following months of rehabilitation at the aquarium’s animal care center in Quincy.“This is rare to have one turtle strand twice, so we are tagging this turtle to understand its behavior,” said Connie Merigo, the rescue department manager at the aquarium who oversaw the turtles’ release Thursday, in a statement.When first rescued in 2017, Aluminum weighed about 6 pounds, the aquarium said. After several months of care, the turtle was released into the wild in August. When the animals are sent into the ocean, researchers often attach tracking devices to track their movements and habits if they’re large enough to carry one.But unlike most turtles, Aluminum came back. The turtle was discovered on the shores of Sandwich in early December.It had changed since the first time it arrived on the shores, too, more than doubling in size to 13.5 pounds, officials said. Since Aluminum was taken in for care, a steady and nutritious diet brought the turtle up to 21 pounds upon release.The loggerhead turtle, named “Strontium,” was found the day prior to Aluminum on the shores of Great Hollow Beach in Truro, officials said. After rehabilitation, it also gained a significant amount of weight, growing from 69.5 pounds to 90 pounds. Both turtles were named after elements on the periodic table by aquarium staffers, the aquarium said.During most fall seasons, sea turtles are found stranded on the shores of Cape Cod after being “cold-stunned” following weeks of hypothermia and the inability to feed when the waters turn cold, officials said. Volunteers and staff from the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary walk the beaches in search of the turtles, bringing them to the care center for months of rehabilitation.Matt Berg can be reached at matthew.berg@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattberg33.
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