24 Apr 2019 02:20:00
Successful turtle release at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast
There’s a cause for shell-ebration at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast as the team have successfully released their latest patient, Christine the Green Sea Turtle, on Mooloolaba Beach. This release followed a successful rehabilitation period at the attraction’s Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, which embodies the SEA LIFE Trust’s ethos of BREED, RESCUE, PROTECT.
The sub-Adult turtle – named Christine after the concerned citizen who found her – was beach-stranded in Bokarina at the start of February earlier this year and was able to receive the care and attention required for a full recovery. If it wasn’t for her rescuer’s patience and watchful eye however, Christine the Turtle’s story could have had ended very differently.
Christine from volunteer group Turtle Care was strolling the beach early one morning during turtle season when she came across the floating turtle showing obvious signs of distress. With no phone and no one around to call for help, Christine remained by the turtle’s side for hours until another member of the public appeared and the turtle was finally rescued and brought to SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast.
“Christine was brought into our Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on the 1st of February, underweight and suffering from buoyancy issues associated with 'Floater Syndrome'. This syndrome is common when plastic becomes stuck in their digestive tract and creates a build-up of gas in the turtle's system, making them extremely vulnerable as they cannot dive for food or protection,” says Brittany Attwood, Aquarist at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast.
“For the last 10 weeks, our dedicated team of curators and aquarists have worked closely with Christine in our Turtle Centre to rehabilitate and nurse her back to health for release back into the ocean. It is always so rewarding to see journeys like these come to a positive end; Christine has gained weight, is swimming confidently and passed her most recent health checks with flying colours.”
Christine’s rescue reinforces the devastating impact that plastic pollution is having on marine life, who mistake plastic for food. Fortunately for Christine, she didn’t fall victim this time but SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast is encouraging the community to do all they can to help the coast’s four-flipper friends.
“Despite today’s positive outcome, not all turtles are as lucky. Turtles face a number of threats in the wild including boat strikes and accidental plastic ingestion or entanglement. All SEA LIFE Aquariums, together with the SEA LIFE Trust, aim to educate the public on the threats turtles face and encourage behavioral change by choosing to reuse and being mindful of plastic pollution.”
This year, SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast is celebrating its 30th anniversary, during which time the attraction has rehabilitated and released more over 1000 turtles just like Christine.
What can members of the public do to help protect our marine life?
- Clean up our beaches and pick up any plastic you see on or around our shores
- Minimise plastic use and opt for reusable alternatives
- Be aware in waterways. Turtles affected by Floater Syndrome are often at water-surface level, and vulnerable to boat strikes
What should members of the public do if they come across sick or injured marine life?
- For all turtles, sea snakes, sharks, rays and other fish call 1300 130 EPA (1300 130 372) and they will direct you to your nearest rehabilitation centre