This Saturday residents of Phuket gathered on the beach to aid in the release of a giant turtle. Thought to be about 50 years old, the massive turtle weighed a staggering 120kg. This is the largest turtle to have been found in Phuket for more than 10 years.
According to a report by the Phuket Gazette the turtle was originally rescued in the waters near Phuket in April during an early morning raid by Phuket-based marine inspectors who had been informed of about an illegal fishing operation. The turtle had been tied to an anchor line by one of its flippers. As the captors fled, the turtle was abandoned to die.
Fortunately, marine inspectors managed to rescue the badly injured turtle and took it to the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) to be treated by vets. They nicknamed the turtle loong, which means uncle in Thai.
As soon as loong was fit to return to the sea, a farewell party was held and a crowd of over 200 people gathered to watch the turtle swim to freedom into the sea at Cape Panwa.