Green tur­tle ‘Ella’ swims free

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

IT’S no mean feat mov­ing a green tur­tle, weigh­ing 170kg, but there were smiles all round when “Ella Emily Sugar” was fi­nally re-re­leased into the Whit­sun­day wild on Satur­day.

Reef Catch­ments was proud to be the fi­nan­cial spon­sor of the re­lease, with Ella emerg­ing re­freshed af­ter spend­ing time in care at the Eco Barge Whit­sun­day Tur­tle Res­cue Cen­tre.

Ella was picked up four weeks pre­vi­ously in Pi­o­neer Bay suf­fer­ing from “float”.

Af­ter a round of worm­ing med­i­ca­tion and some TLC from the Eco Barge team, the huge tur­tle was back to full health and ready to be re­leased back into the sea­grasslined bay from where she was first picked up.

Eco Barge founder Libby Edge said Ella was thought to be over 80 years old and a fully grown adult green tur­tle.

“The cause of her float could have been due to be­ing hit by a boat or ill­ness brought on from other en­vi­ron­men­tal stres­sors,” she said.

Eco Barge’s tur­tle res­cue cen­tre has pro­vided care for nine tur­tles like Ella so far in 2015.

Reef Catch­ments of­fi­cers to­gether with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Proser­pine In­dige­nous Ref­er­ence Group (PIRG) joined Eco Barge’s Libby Edge and Dave Young for the re­lease and a fol­low on marine de­bris clean-up trip.

An es­ti­mated 270kg of de­bris was cleared on the trip, in­cluded foam mat­tresses, var­i­ous boat parts, rope, buoys, fish­ing line, cans, bot­tles and more.

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