A teen is winning admirers for a pictorial of how he saved a stranded leatherback sea turtle.
Elias Pereira (aka Saile1234), who posted the photos Tuesday on Imgur, wrote that he and his mother were walking along Grande Riviere Beach in Trinidad when he saw the gigantic creature disoriented in a storm-created body of water. The mini-lake had pooled at the end of the river, blocking access to the beach. The female leatherback had just laid her eggs and got completely turned around, he said.
The 17-year-old Pereira, an aspiring marine biologist, guided the turtle back to the ocean.
"It felt great knowing I had given back something to the ocean that had filled me with so much wonderment and awe," he wrote to The Huffington Post in an email.
He added that he spoke to a turtle conservationist later that day who told him that the leatherback would have died in the river had he not rescued it.
Pereira, an Aruban-American living in Trinidad, said on Reddit that the encounter happened eight months ago. He said he hoped to return to the area soon. (Grande Riviere is one of the "most important" leatherback nesting spots in the world, See Turtles writes.)
According to National Geographic, leatherbacks are the world's largest sea turtles, growing up to 7 feet long and 2,000 pounds. They are endangered.
Check out the rest of Pereira's photos here.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated Pereira was accompanied by his father on the beach. He was with his mother.