A RARE turtle which was found washed up on a Donegal beach in 2019 is to be repatriated to Gran Canaria today and will be released back into the sea later this week.
Three year old Julius Caesar (JC) was discovered by Daniel Johnstone and his daughter Siomha while out walking on a Donegal beach in January 2019 when he was just 9 months old.
It is believed the loggerhead sea turtle got caught up in the wrong current and swept along the gulf stream and when found, the baby turtle was suffering from hypothermia and weighed just a few hundred grams.
The turtle is now thriving at 25kg after being looked after by Exploris Aquarium, in Portaferry Co Down.
JC will be flown home to Tarifa Wildlife Recovery Centre (Centro de Recuperación de Fauna Silvestrede Tarifa) in Gran Canaria by Aer Lingus today (Wednesday).
He will travel in the cabin in a specially designed waterproof crate, accompanied by his minder Portia Sampson, where he will be warm, secure and can be monitored at all times.
Upon arrival in Gran Canaria, JC will be under the care of veterinarian Pascual Calabuig of the Tarifa Wildlife Recovery Centre and he will oversee JC’s acclimatisation to the warmer weather.
He will also monitor his behaviour, feeding and physical condition before releasing him back into the sea later this week.