Aer Lingus have agreed to fly endangered turtle who was found washed up on an Irish beach to a wildlife recovery centre on the Canary Islands.
The turtle, named Julius Caesar, was found washed up on a beach in County Donegal and is preparing to be flown to a wildlife recovery centre on the Canary Islands where it is hoped he will be able to thrive.
JC is a loggerhead sea turtle which is a recognised endangered species. They are described by the World Wildlife Fund as “the living representatives of a group of reptiles that has existed on Earth and travelled our seas for the last 100 million years”.
JC was found on the Donegal beach by a local family in January 2019, when he was around nine months old.
It is not clear how the turtle ended up in Ireland, however it has been speculated that JC could have been caught in the wrong current and swept along in the Gulf Stream.
JC has been recuperating in Exploris Aquarium, in County Down. According to the aquarium, JC was suffering from hypothermia and weighed just a few hundred grams when he was found.
The spunky turtle now weighs 25kg, and could reach 100kg by the time he is fully grown.
He is due to fly to the Canary Islands at 1.10pm today and will be well looked after on board by the Aer Lingus crew as he travels in a waterproof crate in the plane’s cabin.
Speaking about his unusual passenger, the flight’s captain, Peter Lumsden, said: “Keeping the turtle’s temperature above 19 degrees is critical to his wellbeing, and he requires regular monitoring and shell lubrication, so placing him in the aircraft hold was not an option. His specially designed crate will be securely strapped across a number of seats in the cabin. Like all of us on the flight today, I’m sure he is looking forward to the warmer climate upon landing.”