Loggerhead turtles are an endangered species, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and as a result, biologists spend a lot of time checking up on the species.
Among one of the findings last month was a specimen off of the beaches of Campania in Italy that appeared to have a conjoined twin attached to its belly.
Image Credit: Anton Dohrn Zoological Station via AP
Unfortunately, the twin was dead, so the turtle was lugging around dead weight that was slowing it down and making it a prime target for predators and other dangers.
Marine biologist Fulvio Maffucci was surprised to see just how under-developed the conjoined twin was, noting that he has only seen about seven confirmed cases of conjoined twin loggerhead turtles in his career.
Biologists stepped in to help the turtle, and through a surgical procedure, they were able to remove the dead carcass from the live loggerhead turtle before releasing it back into the wild.
“After the removal of the dead brother from his chest, he crawled from the nest and he's been released in the wild without any help," Maffucci said.
It has reportedly been a very interesting year for the loggerhead turtle species. Not only have we seen a conjoined twin case this year, but the Associated Press also reports that one of the hatchlings was also a rare albino.
Loggerheads remain endangered to this day, but conservation efforts are working hard to help ensure their survival. Removing this potentially life-threating conjoined twin from could have saved this turtle’s life.