Take vulnerable turtles to vet
Wildlife specialists are asking beachgoers who find loggerhead turtles to bring them to their nearest vet for immediate care and not return them to the water.
The advice follows recent reports of the endangered species washing up on shores along the South West after rough seas and swells.
Experts say it is unusual for loggerhead turtles to be in the South West as they are a species that generally prefers warmer waters further north.
A spokeswoman from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions said its Parks and Wildlife service was aware of 14 turtles washed ashore between Bunbury and Augusta in recent weeks.
“In winter, the warm Leeuwin current that extends down the west coast results in loggerhead turtles brought down into the cooler climate,” she said.
“The winter storm fronts push the smaller and weaker turtles closer to the shore, where they are then found on our beaches in the South West.”
Cape Creatures Veterinary Hospital’s Dr Phil Berry said it was important for people to bring them in for immediate care.
“When they wash ashore, they get cold quickly and there can be all sorts of medical issues,” he said.
“We assess them, stabilise them and provide appropriate medical care.”
Once assessed, the rescued turtles are trans-ported to Perth Zoo for rehabilitation.
The department’s spokeswoman said loggerhead turtles responded well to rehabilitation and were frequently able to be released back into the wild.
Loggerhead turtles have a lifespan of 45-67 years and can weigh up to 450kg.
If a turtle is found, call the Parks and Wildlife service’s Wildlife Helpline on 9474 9055.
Shelly is being nursed back to health with help from Dr Phil Berry, of Cape Creatures Veterinary Hospital.