Re­mark­able tur­tle ad­ven­ture

Crash driver un­known

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - DONNA-MARIE MILNE

AF­TER A three-month stay at a tur­tle hospi­tal and a 7500km round trip, the prog­no­sis is look­ing good for a green sea tur­tle found float­ing by a lo­cal res­i­dent in Cape Tribu­la­tion Bay.

Pad­dle­trek Kayak Ad­ven­tures owner/ op­er­a­tor Peter David­son was row­ing back from a tour when he no­ticed the “float­ing tur­tle”.

Peter was quick to call the Great Bar­rier Reef Ma­rine Park Au­thor­ity, which sent the tur­tle on a re­mark­able jour­ney of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

The tur­tle was ini­tially trans­ported to the Cairns tur­tle res­cue and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre, which had no room to ac­com­mo­date the sickly an­i­mal.

It was then sent on to a sim­i­lar cen­tre in Townsville which also had “no room at the inn” be­fore even­tu­ally find­ing a home at a ve­teri­nary surgery on Mag­netic Is­land. Find­ing ap­pro­pri­ate fa­cil­i­ties can prove dif­fi­cult, as tur­tles re­quire spe­cial salt­wa­ter con­di­tions to be re­ha­bil­i­tated.

“Three months later we got a call to say the tur­tle was ready to be re­leased,” Peter said. “The tur­tle was then driven all the way back to Cape Tribu­la­tion Bay - we find it quite in­cred­i­ble the ef­fort that has went into sav­ing this lit­tle an­i­mal.

“As soon as we took the tur­tle back on to the beach he knew where he was, it was quite spe­cial to watch the re­lease.” Float­ing syn­drome is an in­creas­ingly com­mon oc­cur­rence in ma­rine tur­tles, due to plas­tic in­di­ges­tion caused by tur­tles mis­tak­ing the grow­ing pres­ence of plas­tic in ocean wa­ters for jel­ly­fish. OC­CU­PANTS of a red Suzuki Vi­tara were lucky to es­cape in­jury when the driver hit a small-boul­der and flipped the ve­hi­cle.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred on Es­cape Close be­hind the re­sort Ren­dezvous around 4.30pm on March 5.

Po­lice said the driver of the ve­hi­cle is un­known as there were only two oc­cu­pants of the ve­hi­cle at the scene who both de­nied be­ing the driver or hav­ing any knowl­edge of who the driver was.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing and any­one with in­for­ma­tion about the crash is urged to con­tact po­lice on 4087 1999 or Crime Stop­pers on 1800 333 000.

Back to the wild: Peter David­son with the well-trav­elled tur­tle

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