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May 15, 2021

Rescued sea turtles from South Australia released in Ballina

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Sarah Brady with Alicia, the loggerhead turtle. (supplied)
Sarah Brady with Alicia, the loggerhead turtle. (supplied)

Two sea turtles rescued in South Australia late last year are being released this morning at the surf club end of Lighthouse Beach in Ballina.

Australian Seabird Rescue volunteers released the turtles, which were flown to Ballina just over a week ago to be released in the warmer waters.

Acting General Manager of Seabird Rescue, Keith Williams, said the decision to release the turtles in Ballina was due to the waters off Adelaide being far too cold for sea turtles at this time of year.

Jenelle, a 20-year-old Green Sea Turtle weighing in excess of 40 kilograms was rescued in October 2016.

Alicia, a 3-year-old  Loggerhead turtle (listed as an Endangered Species world-wide) was rescued in November 2016.

Mr Williams said both turtles had washed up on the beach severely emaciated after floating in the ocean for several months after ingesting plastic.

Their rehabilitation was carried out in Adelaide by Australian Marine Wildlife Rescue and Research Organisation (AMRRO).

Jenelle the Green Sea Turtle, in care at Australian Seabird Rescue. (supplied)
Jenelle the Green Sea Turtle, in care at Australian Seabird Rescue. (supplied)

ASR and AMRRO have cooperated for many years with Alicia and Jenelle the 4th and 5th turtles to be released in Ballina following their care by AMRRO.

Mr Williams highlighted the importance of cooperation between agencies dealing with sea turtles.

‘We share our population of sea turtles with the entire South Pacific. A Loggerhead turtle such as Alicia would most likely be found closer to South America at this age,’ he said.

‘While it is unusual for such turtles to be found in South Australia, a sick, floating turtle is at the mercy of the wind and waves and could end up in otherwise unexpected places.’.


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