Rescued turtles go back to the sea
While the turtle nesting season has recently ended for the Mid West, the Department of Parks and Wildlife is reminding anyone who finds adult turtles washed ashore to report them to Wildcare.
Two rescued sea turtles were released from Exmouth this month after successful rehabilitation.
Roman the loggerhead and Uber the green turtle were returned to the ocean on March 9 thanks to some quick care from local and State conservation groups.
Roman had been found in early March on Cheynes Beach, Albany, having suffered from exposure to the cold waters.
DPaW regional officer Cameron Craigie said juvenile loggerheads were often very small, hatching at about 10cm long from WA’s northern beaches in April and May.
“We believe the strong current carried this individual all the way down to Albany,” he said.
Roman was taken to Perth Zoo for treatment before completing his rehabilitation at the Aquarium of WA.
Uber was found in Exmouth last year suffering from buoyancy issues, and taken into care by members of Exmouth Wildlife CARE group, who stabilised him before he was transferred to Perth Zoo for further treatment.
While turtles normally have some control over their buoyancy, an infection prevented Uber from being able to swim properly, which is how he ended up washed ashore.
Thankfully a course of broadspectrum antibiotics and a little bit of time to recover fixed him up just fine.
Uber finished his treatment at Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre.
Dr Craigie said the endangered loggerhead and the vulnerable green turtle represented two of the six species of marine turtles found off the WA coast.
Roman has been fitted with a satellite tracker, and can be followed on his journey across the oceans online at seaturtle.org/tracking.
Pilbara region marine conservation officer Joanne King said tagging was important to identify individual marine turtles and determine their success once released into the wild.
“This information could be determined when they come back to nest, are sighted in their foraging grounds or are found deceased,” she said.
“Long-term projects such as this are important as turtles have a complex life cycle and trends in population numbers can be detected over decades, thereby improving management of this threatened species.”
Anyone who finds a turtle washed up on a beach should call the Wildcare helpline on 9474 9055.