Endangered sea turtle rescued after getting lost in canal in Thailand

A critically endangered female hawksbill sea turtle was rescued after being found lost in a freshwater canal in eastern Thailand. The 3ft-long marine animal was saved by a kind fisherman after it was seen struggling to swim in Trat province on April 21. The fisherman, Ramphueng Chaiprawet, 62, said he was setting up traps to catch crabs when he encountered the exhausted animal. Believing that the turtle had mistakenly wandered through the waterway, he paddled near the animal before scooping it up and called the local animal rescuer team for help. Ramphueng said he thought the turtle was already dead as it was only floating and barely moving when it passed by the canal. It is now in a stable condition. The fisherman said: ‘I was catching crabs when I saw this turtle floating in the water. It was barely moving so I thought it was sick or dying. I quickly paddled my boat into its direction and took it out of the water.’ The kind fisherman placed the animal in a plastic basin until officers from the local Marine and Coastal Resources Department arrived to check its health. The team gave the weak turtle some first aid treatment before taking the animal with them to their facility for closer monitoring. A local Marine and Coastal Resources Department officer said that the turtle appeared to have strayed into the canal and was lost for at least a week. He said: ‘Based on how weak the animal had become it was estimated to have been lost for at least a week. It may have been disoriented in the freshwater and wandered deeper into the canal. ‘It was a female weighing 40kg. It was given some first aid and is now in stable condition but it would need more treatment before we could return it to the sea.’ The International Union for Conservation of Nature listed hawksbill sea turtles as a critically endangered species. They are believed to be one of the most endangered of the seven species of sea turtle, with only around 8,000 nesting females left around the world.