Loggerhead Sea Turtle Rescued in Truro

Rufus Guards Rescued Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Frigid conditions and a brisk westerly wind signaled a perfect morning for sea turtle patrol on Outer Cape Cod.  With a west breeze, Sue Wieber Nourse and Rufus the Turtle Dog headed for the long, westerly facing Cape Cod Bay beaches of Truro to check for cold-stunned sea turtles.  Half a mile south of Ryder Beach landing, they rescued a large, 60-pound loggerhead stranded in conditions unfit and unsafe for any self-respecting, semi-tropical sea turtle.

60-Pound Loggerhead Sea Turtle Cold-Stunned in Truro Surf

Wind and surf tossed the turtle upside down, pinning it in a dangerous and life-threatening position.  Its head was submerged, taking on water and sand as each breaker crashed.  Undaunted by brutal conditions, Sue and Rufus charged into the icy water and pulled 60 pounds of slippery, “dead” weight to the shore and safety.

Rescued Loggerhead Sea Turtle @ Ryder Beach in Truro

Once on land, the loggerhead exhibited signs of life.  Sue examined the sea turtle, documenting a lively community of epibiota clinging to its massive carapace.  She assessed this loggerhead in relatively good condition, considering the trying circumstances.  In accordance with rescue protocol for cold-stunned sea turtles, Turtle Journal notified Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary at 508-349-2615 and Bob Prescott, the director, drove to Truro to meet up with Sue and Rufus and to retrieve the hefty loggerhead.  The turtle is now destined for the New England Aquarium for treatment and rehabilitation.

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