The RAF and a charity called Turtles Fly Too have joined forces to return a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle to Texas after it was swept 4,000 miles across the Atlantic. Kemp’s ridleys are the rarest and smallest of all sea turtles. They’re native to the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the US eastern seaboard and don’t often end up in Wales, but that is where Tally – her given name – ended up in 2021, exhausted after an unplanned ride on the Gulf Stream. Spotted by a dog walker on a beach in Flintshire, she was nursed back to health by the Anglesey Sea Zoo as plans were made to fly her “home” via RAF Brize Norton, Heathrow and a scheduled flight to Houston. If zoologists there decide she’s healthy enough, she’ll be released back into the wild on a gulf coast beach near Galveston. Her rescuers don’t know exactly where she came from; only that she was lucky to survive the cold.
Photograph RAF Valley