Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies comes to the rescue of two leatherback turtles this week

Two entangled turtles freed in two days in Cape Cod Bay

Recreation boaters play important role in rescuing endangered animals


   Leatherback sea turtle freed on Wednesday off Truro. PCCS image under NOAA 50 CFR 222.310.

Two endangered leatherback turtles are once again swimming freely after being rescued by members of the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies' Marine Animal Entanglement Response (MAER) team.

According to PCCS spokesperson Catherine Macort, the first of the two leatherbacks, a 4.5' female, was discovered by boaters outside Sesuit Harbor in Dennis Tuesday. The second, a 5' male, was discovered just offshore in Truro. Both turtles were entangled in fishing gear and had line wrapped around their necks and foreflippers, according to Macort.

A PCCS team, assisted by the Dennis Harbormaster, freed the first turtle and the second was freed by a PCCS crew with the assistance of entanglement response trainees from Brazil and Argentina.

In both cases, recreational boaters alerted PCCS to the entangled animals. Boaters are encouraged to keep watch for marine animals in similar situations and to report sightings immediately by calling the MAER Hotline at 800-900-3622 or the United States Coast Guard. Boaters are asked to remain with the animal at a safe distance until rescuers arrive.

In the past five years, the PCCS MAER team has rescued more than thirty entangled leatherback turtles off Cape Cod. Leatherbacks, the largest living reptile in the world, is an endangered species.

A large dead leatherback turtle washed ashore at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannisport earlier this month.

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