Ute beauty as ‘floater’ turtle res­cued from Wonga Beach

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - SAM SMALLBONE

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

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