Mir­a­cle mo­ment as a tur­tle is re­leased

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

A JU­VE­NILE green tur­tle known af­fec­tion­ately as ‘Crush’ was re­leased into the wild off Con­way Beach on Tues­day, Septem­ber 10, af­ter re­ceiv­ing a clean bill of health from the Queens­land Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice (QPWS).

Crush was struck by an out­board pro­pel­ler in early Au­gust and found stranded on Con­way Beach by lo­cal res­i­dent Brad Wat­son. Mr Wat­son called Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc for help and Crush be­came one of the first tur­tles to make use of the new Eco Barge and Fauna Res­cue Whit­sun­day (FRW) triage fa­cil­ity lo­cated at the Eco Barge HQ in Ju­bilee Pocket.

Crush was looked af­ter at the triage fa­cil­ity by eco vol­un­teers Jo Wil­liams and John Cald­well as well as Eco Barge founder Libby Edge, who ad­min­is­tered an­tibi­otics. Within two-and-a-half weeks the tur­tle had lost its “float syn­drome” and started to eat, putting on 400 grams by the time of re­lease.

“That’s a mir­a­cle. It’s so sat­is­fy­ing to know you’ve done your best and they can go back in the wild and for­age and hope­fully breed and keep that tur­tle pop­u­la­tion alive,” Ms Edge said.

Be­fore the lo­cal triage cen­tre be­came op­er­a­tional just one month ago, Ms Edge said in­jured and stranded tur­tles in the Whit­sun­days had no op­tion but to travel to Townsville’s Reef HQ.

“We still try to send them to Reef HQ where pos­si­ble but if they are full, which they are presently, we can now hold the tur­tles for longer and care for them ad­e­quately,” she said.

The new triage cen­tre can ac­com­mo­date up to four tur­tles in sep­a­rate quar­an­tine tanks at any one time.

Ms Edge said with eight strand­ings re­ported lo­cally in the past month there was def­i­nitely a need for the fa­cil­ity and she thanked all the in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses who helped to make it a re­al­ity.

Lo­cal res­i­dents who find stranded or in­jured tur­tles can call 1300an­i­mal or the FRW hot­line on 4947 3389.

SET FREE: Con­way Beach res­i­dent Brad Wat­son and Eco Barge vol­un­teer Jo Wil­liams re­leas­ing the green tur­tle 'Crush' at Con­way Beach on Tues­day.

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