Turtles go free as crowd watches
WORD spread quickly along Main Beach at Byron Bay yesterday morning that two sea turtles were being readied for release back into the wild.
By the time the dedicated volunteers from Australian Seabird Rescue had walked their delicate cargo in carry bags down to the sand, more than 200 people had gathered to witness the moment.
Onlookers formed a guard of honour for the turtles as they were walked gently down to the waves and released.
A cheer erupted as they paddled out to sea with gusto.
The two turtles, Yeezy and Clooney, were both extremely sick when they were rescued by locals two months ago.
Yeezy, a green sea turtle, was suffering from “float” and was covered in barnacles when he washed up on November 14 near the afternoon drumming circle at Main Beach.
He also had gashes from being thrown on to rocks during his ordeal.
Thanks to several weeks of medication and intensive care courtesy of volunteers at the Ballina Byron Sea Turtle Hospital, the little guy was cured of his float, a usually fatal condition caused by the ingestion of plastic, and given daily doses of sunshine to recuperate.
Meanwhile, Clooney was rescued by a fisherman off Brunswick Head’s south wall at 4am on November 18.
He was covered in leeches and looking extremely sick.
ASR general manager Kath Southwell said Clooney quickly had all of his leeches removed and was placed on antibiotics and wormed.
“By his second week at the turtle hospital, he started eating small amounts of food but it wasn’t until we gave him some red seaweed after a few weeks in care that his condition improved dramatically,” Ms Southwell said.
ASR is running school holiday tours every weekday at 10am to show people the turtles it has in its care and educate people about responsible fishing practices.
Tours cost $7 per person with all money going toward the non-profit organisation’s continued work to rescue and rehabilitate sea turtles and seabirds rescued from the Tweed to the Clarence rivers.
MAIN BEACH: Big crowd waits to see the release of the sea turtles.