Take vul­ner­a­ble tur­tles to vet

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page - Therese Col­man

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.

Pic­ture: Taelor Pelusey

Shelly is be­ing nursed back to health with help from Dr Phil Berry, of Cape Crea­tures Ve­teri­nary Hos­pi­tal.

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