Twisted in rope and moving with difficulty, a leatherback turtle, estimated at 600 pounds, was rescued by the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and U.S. Coast Guard last Thursday.
The struggling turtle had been spotted in Gardiner’s Bay by a boater aboard the Madeline, from Quonset, R.I., who alerted Coast Guard Station Montauk, according to a statement released on Friday by the foundation.
Kimberly Durham, the foundation’s rescue director, and Julika Wocial, its rescue program supervisor, were taken aboard a Coast Guard vessel and whisked to where the animal was ensnared. By about 8:10 p.m., the team managed to untangle the rope from around its flippers, and it swam free, apparently none the worse for the experience. The rescues took place about 1.8 miles west of Gardiner’s Island.
Ms. Durham said in the statement that July was just the start of the sea turtle season in Long Island waters and asked that the public report any sightings to the foundation’s 24-hour hotline, 369-9829.