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run leona run

Leona --- the stranded Clare turtle --- is over her jetlag, and swimming free

The loggerhead turtle was found on a Clare beach last year. She was flown to Gran Canaria by Aer Lingus earlier this week.

A LOGGERHEAD TURTLE found washed up on a west coast beach last year has been released back into the Atlantic off Gran Canaria — after taking a flight to the sunny isle.

Leona was discovered, underweight and unresponsive, on a beach in Clare. But after a week of medication, gradually became more active.

She was nursed back to health by Galway Atlantiquarium and, after an appeal by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, flown by Aer Lingus to her new sanctuary home.

Robbie Reynolds Photography Robbie Reynolds Photography

Leona had a brief stay at a turtle rehabilitation centre after taking her flight on Tuesday, and was released back into the sea today (to much excitement on the part of onlookers, if not the turtle herself).

Celestial Green Ventures / YouTube

In case you’re wondering what that thing’s doing sticking out of her back — it’s a GPS tracker, which will allow turtle enthusiasts to track Leona’s progress over the coming months.  

How did Leona get to Clare in the first place, you ask?

Very few Loggerhead turtles have been found in Ireland, the whale and dolphin group’s Simon Berrow told us, earlier in the week. Some get caught in ocean currents, and can end up on beaches along the western seaboard of Europe.

It is believed that many also float across the Atlantic from the Caribbean.

Read: Group of children free dolphin trapped in rockpool >

More: Tortoise found ‘wandering around Dublin Castle’ >

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