Endangered Sea Turtle Rescued on Southern Japan Island

Courtesy of Amami municipal government
A green sea turtle is lifted using construction equipment to be placed onto a truck in Amami, Kagoshima Prefecture, on Thursday.

AMAMI, Kagoshima — An endangered green sea turtle stuck in a ditch on Amami Oshima Island was rescued using construction equipment and returned to the sea on Thursday.

A resident walking at the municipal sewage treatment plant in Amami, Kagoshima Prefecture, noticed the turtle early Thursday morning.

According to the Amami municipal government, the turtle was walking along the inner road of a seawall when it became frightened after encountering the resident. The turtle tried to flee and fell into a ditch 60 centimeters wide and 65 centimeters deep. The turtle is believed to have come ashore to lay eggs and wandered onto the site.

Municipal employees lifted the turtle with construction equipment since it was large — its shell was about 95 centimeters in length —and placed it onto a truck. They took the turtle to a nearby fishing port and used a ramp to return it to the ocean five hours after it was found.

Amami gets stray sea turtles about once every few years, according to Katsuki Oki, head of the Amami Marine Life Research Association.

“I hope it’ll lay eggs on the beach in a few days,” Oki said.