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March 1, 2021

Three sea turtles set to be released tomorrow

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A Hawksbill Sea Turtle previously released from the Ballina Byron Sea Turtle Hospital. Photo supplied.

Ever wanted to see the release of turtles back into the sea? Well now is your chance. Three sea turtles will be released at 10am tomorrow (Friday, January 25) at Lighthouse Beach in Ballina.

Of the three being released the Hawksbill turtle is on the critically endangered list and has been in care for almost three months.

‘Gecko the Hawksbill was rescued on 1 November, 2018 from Boulders Beach. Martin the surfer found the turtle floating and in distress, so he put it on his board and paddled to the shore. He brought the critically endangered animal to the Ballina Byron Sea Turtle Hospital,’ said general manager Kath Southwell.

‘The turtle was suffering from exhaustion and emaciation. Gecko received a treatment of antibiotics for ten days and his carapace (shell) and was treated with betadine. She ate about 30kgs of squid and prawns while being rehabilitated.’

Give me the squid and prawns please

In fact the biggest cost of rehabilitation of sea turtles is feeding them as they need to eat seafood that fit for human consumption.

The other two turtles being released are Fran and Hedgehog who are both Green sea turtles. Fran has been in care for just over three months as was treated for large burrowing barnacles and ate around 130kgs of squid and prawns during her stay.

‘Fran the green Sea Turtle was rescued on 11 September, 2018,’ said Ms Southwell.

‘She was found on the sandbar opposite the RSL on the Richmond River in Ballina. Fran only weighed 7.2 kg when rescued but now she weighs almost 9 kgs. She also received sun baths to help with her healing.

‘Hedgehog the Green Sea Turtle was rescued from Shelly Beach in Ballina on 7 December. She was suffering from exhaustion and had some injuries on her carapace (shell) from possibly a boat strike, or getting thrown around the rocks,’ she said.

‘She had a very high algal load on her carapace as well. She only weighed 6.8kgs on entry to the hospital but now she weighs 8.5kgs.’

All up the three turtles enjoyed a staggering 250kgs of seafood during their recovery at the Ballina Byron Sea Turtle Hospital. So if you have a mind to support the organisation a few dollars towards prawns and said wouldn’t go astray.

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