About the Author: John Whittlesey serves as Environment, Science, Technology and Health Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in London.
In 2007, a rare Kemp's Ridley sea turtle, whose normal habitat is the warm waters of the Caribbean and the southeastern United States, took a very wrong turn and swam all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to southern England. The turtle was found near Devon, England, nearly dead from starvation and hypothermia.
The turtle, later named Willy, was rescued, taken to the Sea Life Center in Weymouth, and nursed back to health.
In 2008, the NGO Marine Environmental Monitoring contacted the U.S. Embassy in London for help in shipping Willy back to the United States. The Embassy's Environment Section worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife authorities in the U.K., the Sea Life Center, and American Airlines to get Willy home. Here is her story.