A large female green sea turtle was rescued in Grand Cayman on Tuesday after a group of residents found her trapped in ironshore rocks on the beach.
The turtle, which has a 4-foot-long shell, had come ashore to nest but was unable to return to the sea because of the high, jagged rocks. Staff from the Department of Environment and volunteers rescued the turtle and released her back into the sea.
A green sea turtle takes decades to reach the size of the female found Tuesday, according to the Department of Environment. It is estimated that fewer than one in 1,000 green turtles reaches maturity.
The turtle recovered Tuesday had been tagged by the department in 2013 in an effort to track the nesting population. Last year, the department documented 168 green turtle nests.
Department of Environment volunteer Marique Cloete said the turtle team was called out to the site after receiving a report that the turtle had become disoriented after laying its eggs, and the rescue went smoothly.
“It was fantastic to see she had previously been tagged and she had grown and come back to Cayman,” Ms. Cloete said.
The Department of Environment did not release the name of the beach where the turtle was recovered since poaching remains a serious threat to the islands’ small turtle population.
Turtle nesting typically takes place on beaches throughout the Cayman Islands from May to October each year, though nests have been found as early as April 1 and as late as January.
Teams of volunteers visit local beaches once or twice a week to find turtle tracks that lead them to nests, which are then recorded by the Department of Environment and monitored until the baby turtles emerge.
In case of a turtle found to be in distress, call the Department of Environment’s turtle hotline at 938-NEST or to call 911.