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Rescued Leatherback Turtle Released

(TURO, Mass.) -- A giant sea turtle that has been described as “a swimming dinosaur” has been released back into the waters this weekend after it was rescued from a mud flat near the tip of Cape Cod, according to New England Aquarium officials.

The 7-foot-long, 655-pound black male leatherback turtle, an endangered species, was found late Wednesday night on a mud flat in Pamet Harbor, near the town of Truro, Mass., by staff from a local Audubon sanctuary.

Aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse described the turtle as “near death” when he arrived at the aquarium. One of its massive flippers had been partly severed, likely the result of some sort of predatory attack or a run-in with a boat, according to LaCasse.

The injury to the turtle’s left flipper affected its ability to forage for food and could have led to an infection.

Leatherbacks flock to Cape Cod and surrounding islands each June to feed on the jellyfish that are abundant in the waters. They migrate south for the winter beginning this month and into October, according to the aquarium.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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