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Byron Shire
December 5, 2021

Turtle release at Sharpes Beach

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A Green Turtle in waters along the east coast of Australia. Photo Coral Bay Ecotours/Flickr

It has been a busy year of turtle rescues for Australian Seabird Rescue who will be releasing Iguana the green sea turtle will be at Sharpes Beach, Skennars Head, Ballina this morning at 11am.

‘Australian Seabird Rescue have been really busy with rescuing and rehabilitating sea turtles for the past two years, with an average of ten or more turtles in care at any time,’ said general manager, Kathrina Southwell.

‘After todays release, we will only have two turtles at the hospital.’

Iguana was rescued at Yamba by local volunteers on September 28 last year with float syndrome. Which means the turtles aren’t able to submerge and are vulnerable to being captured or blow ashore.

‘When sea turtles first arrive at the Ballina Byron Sea Turtle Hospital, we put them into fresh water to help rehydrate them and often just let them recover from the stress of transporting them,’ said Ms Southwell.

‘After 48 hours we noticed a small hook protruding from under her left flipper. I removed the hook and was concerned she may have swallowed a lot of fishing line or a lure, which could have been creating gas in her coelemic cavity and making her float. She had a couple of x-rays at Lennox Head Vet Clinic and it was found she had a large internal blockage.

‘She is a big turtle and was moved into the pre release tank promptly and this allowed her deeper water to dive to reduce the float syndrome. She had to be force fed oils to help her pass the blockage. With so many turtles in that tank at the time, we gave her a squid tube soaked in red food dye to see if she was able to pass it. After about five days, we saw the pinky red colour in the tank and knew her blockage had passed through her system!’

Iguana will be released near or in front of the lifeguard tower at Sharpes Beach car park. This will be followed by abeach cleanup.

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