Ute beauty as ‘floater’ turtle rescued from Wonga Beach
A LOCAL woman went above and beyond to save an injured green sea turtle found floating in the water at Wonga Beach on Sunday.
Wonga Beach resident Vicki Wilson was walking along the beach when she spotted the turtle floating on a 45-degree angle about 200 metres from shore at 2pm on Sunday.
“Luckily a young fisherman was there and was able to help me bring the turtle to shore,” Ms Wilson said.
“He kindly stayed with the turtle while I backed my ute onto the beach to transport it to a vet.”
The turtle was approximately one-metre long and was in a poor condition.
“I had no idea what to do with the turtle and I couldn’t get in contact with anyone to help me,” she said.
Ms Wilson searched for assistance at the local zoo, the RSPCA, Hartley’s Crocodile Farm, the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre in Cairns and Port Douglas and Mossman vets.
Both vets from Port Douglas and Mossman tried to assist Ms Wilson by contacting the Cairns Rehabilitation Centre in Cairns, but their phone lines were down.
Three hours later, Ms Wilson got in contact with staff at SeaWorld at the Gold Coast who were able to provide information on how to treat the turtle before a ranger could collect it on Monday.
Ms Wilson kept the turtle in the back of the ute in her garage on Sunday night and woke up every few hours to check if it was breathing and pour buckets of saltwater over it.
The turtle was collected by a ranger at 10am on Monday and was transported to the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation.
Cofounder of Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre Dr Jennie Gilbert is treating the green sea turtle and said it was a female, which is very important for breeding.
“She is an adult female green sea turtle, between 60 and 70 years old,” Dr Gilbert said.
“Her condition is a floater’, meaning she has been diagnosed with floating disease where a gap of air has entered her gut and caused her to float.
“Unfortunately we are unable to operate on turtles because of the structure of their shell but she is currently being treated with antibiotics, fluid therapy, and glucose for energy and multivitamins.
“We expect her to be in rehabilitation for up to two years and we are very glad that Vicki was able to save her.”
If other turtles are found stranded or injured, please contact Dr Jennie Gilbert on 0417 441 956.
Saved: the injured turtle on the road to recovery