Rehabilitated turtles swim free
Just after 9am on Tuesday 29 November, two boats filled with Earthwatch volunteers from Amcor and scientist Dr Kathy Townsend headed out to deep water off North Stradbroke Island to release four healthy, rehabilitated turtles back into the open ocean.The loggerhead and three green turtles were all found back in August 2011 and were experiencing a range of issues, causing them to lose weight and be in very poor condition. Some of the turtles were found floating and were unable to dive for food which is often associated with marine rubbish inside the turtles gut, which is the current focus of the Turtles in Trouble research project. The biggest turtle – the Loggerhead known as Blossom – was rescued by the School of Biological Sciences undergraduate students on a field trip back in 2005. The turtle was found floating just in front of the research station during the field course and was carried back to the station for care by four students.Summary of the turtles released:
Loggerhead turtle called “Blossom”
Condition on arrival: was very weak and dehydrated (eyes sunken), covered in algae & sea squirts. Missing front right flipper and the back of the shell (carapace) missing.
Bodyweight on arrival: 32.25kg
Condition on arrival: Floating turtle with large barnacles, burrowing barnacles and leeches.
Condition on arrival: Floating, lesions on carapace and a few surface parasites.
Body weight: 7.45kg
Green tutle called “Splash”
Condition on arrival: Floating – possible impaction due to ingested marine debris
Body weight: 16.05kg
About the project: Since 2006, Earthwatch has been working with the University of Queensland's Moreton Bay Research Station and Dr Kathy Townsend on sick, injured and dead sea turtles. Underwater World Mooloolabah has also been supporting thte project by undertaking long term care of injured turtles, after initially being treated on North Stradbroke Island. The project relies heavily on the help and support of the traditional owners of North Stradbroke Island (Minjerrinbah) and Earthwatch volunteers.
Credits to EARTHWATCH Institute Australia: