Watch Endangered Sea Turtle Shot in Neck With Speargun Released Into Wild

An endangered green sea turtle found stranded with a metal spearhead stuck in her neck has been released back into the wild in Australia.

The turtle, who has been named Joan of Arc, was found in February on the Great Sandy Straits beach in Queensland by rescue organization Turtles In Trouble Fraser Coast. The turtle was brought to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital where veterinarians found her wound had gone septic, the Queensland Environment Department said on a Facebook post.

Sea turtle
A video of the rescue shows the sea turtle being released back into her natural habitat Queensland Environment

The spearhead had been lodged in her neck for such a long time barnacles were growing on it, Queensland Environment said. Joan of Arc was treated for her injuries with antibiotics for two months before she was deemed fit enough to return to her natural habitat. While veterinarians were able to remove most of the metal spear, closer x-rays and scans found that the tip had been lodged very close to her spine.

As the turtle was stable and clear from any further infection, veterinarians decided it would be incredibly difficult to remove the rest of the spearhead without harming her.

"Even though the spear tip is still in her body, it is not likely to cause her any future issues and she was cleared for release," Queensland Environment said.

The sea turtle has now been released back into her natural habitat.

A video of her release, shared by Queensland Environment, shows the turtle being lifted from a stretcher and carried down to the water. Volunteers can be seen releasing the turtle from her bonds before they leave her by the shoreline, stepping back to give her space.

The sea turtle can be seen hesitating for a few seconds before she tentatively begins to lower herself into the water.

She gradually begins to make her way amongst the waves. The turtle briefly pops her head out of the water and moves her flippers before eventually disappearing into the depths.

Green sea turtles are an endangered species and are found in tropical waters worldwide. They are threatened by being caught or harmed in fishing gear, as well as being overharvested for their eggs. In Australia they are a protected species, meaning it is illegal to harm them.

The spearhead likely came from a spearfisher in the area. Queensland Environment urged people to be careful while partaking in the activity.

"This is a timely reminder though, that marine turtles are a threatened and protected species and should not be interfered with. If you are spearfishing, please keep an extra eye out to ensure you're not likely to hit anything you don't mean to," Queensland Environment said.

Sea turtle
Volunteers released the turtle back into the wild after she received treatment for her injuries Queensland Environment