A 12-year-old turtle, who had to learn how to swim properly again after being gashed by a boat propellor, has been returned to sea.

Poseidon has spent the last two years being nursed back to health by Nature Trust Malta, whose volunteers help rescue and rehabilitate injured turtles.

The loggerhead turtle was found with deep cracks in his shell at Golden Bay on 25 August 2021.

"The hit also damaged his nerves and hind legs, and his rehabilitation was a long process," Nature Trust Malta CEO Vince Attard said. 

Poseidon the turtle waddling back into the sea. Video: Jonathan Borg

Poseidon underwent physiotherapy sessions to heal his hindlegs and help him swim properly, added Attard.

The number of turtles injured by boats has spiked since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, when a drop in tourism appeared to have given the turtles a reprieve.

"This year alone we had five turtles suffering from boat hits," Attard said.

To the cheers of school children and other onlookers, Poseidon was released back into the wild at the same place he was found. 

Poseidon was treated for deep gashes to his shell. Photo: Nature Trust MaltaPoseidon was treated for deep gashes to his shell. Photo: Nature Trust Malta

He was joined by two other loggerhead turtles, Daniel and Licia, who were also released into the sea. 

Eight-year-old Daniel was found by ERA enforcement officers on 11 August this year close to Filfa. He was rescued after he was seen struggling to dive. 

Six days later, Licia, a five-year-old loggerhead turtle was also rescued by ERA enforcement officers. 

"Both were found to have small pieces of plastic in their stomachs," Attard said. The two turtles were named after the ERA officers who rescued them.

Photo: Jonathan BorgPhoto: Jonathan Borg

Daniel and Licia were released days after two other juvenile turtles who also ingested plastic, were released back into the wild.

All three turtles are chipped. 

Attard previously appealed to the public to keep beaches clean and plastic-free.

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