Toby the Loggerhead Turtle had been washed up in County Kerry (Ireland) last August after accidentally crossing the Atlantic Ocean on her own, it’s believed she’s originally from Florida. Toby was just hours away from death when she was swept up on the beach at Castlegregory.
Local residents had discovered Toby in an extremely weak state, she was then taken to Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium in hopes she would regain strength and health to be freed into her natural habitat. The marine biologists worked tirelessly to nurse Toby back to health, helping her gain weight from 300 to 700 grams, ready for her to be released back into the ocean.
In usual circumstances, Toby would be sent to the Navy in Ireland for them to carry out the release, unfortunately, they had no vessels departing so matters had to be taken into the hands of aviation. This is when AIA’s Irish team were called upon to help with the rescue mission by booking Toby on a flight with one of our partner airlines, TAP Air Cargo.
Yesterday evening (27th November) Toby took to the skies from Dublin to Lisbon in the safe hands of a TAP Air pilot, receiving VIP treatment, Toby travelled in the cockpit due to the temperature of the cargo hold being too cold for the turtle. She arrived safely and is now with the experienced team at Flying Sharks, a group specialising in marine live animal collection and transport which are involved in multiple conservation projects.
“We are familiar with booking live animals on our direct flights, but primarily these are the passengers’ pet cats or dogs. It was exciting to be involved in this highly coordinated project to ensure Toby’s safe passage home.” – Sharon Hammond – AIA Cargo’s Ireland Country Manager
Toby will soon be released in the Azores (Portugal) where the water is at the turtle’s natural climate for this time of year.