Taronga has released three rehabilitated green turtles just outside Sydney Heads.
This release is particularly significant considering green turtles are an endangered species and their numbers are decreasing in the wild.
The three turtles released by Taronga are named after the beaches they were found – Stan (Stanwell Park), Nulla (Cronulla) and Stephen (Port Stephens).
They were found as hatchlings between February and April 2017, and have been in care at the hospital ever since.
In order to be released, the turtles had to be healthy, strong and free of injuries – Nulla, for example, was found tangled in seaweed and has a damaged front flipper.
“We have cared for these turtles for almost two years and are very excited to be able to release them back into the ocean,” says Taronga Wildlife Hospital manager Libby Hall.
“When they were hatchlings they required intensive care and feeding regimes to ensure their survival. The next stage has been rehabilitation where they have developed their swimming and diving skills, feeding ability and fitness levels to assist their survival in the wild.”
Before the turtles were released they were fitted with satellite trackers. The data collected from the satellite trackers will add to a Marine Turtle Satellite Tracking Research Program supported by SUEZ.
The satellite trackers enable Taronga to measure the post-release success of each marine turtle that Taronga Wildlife Hospital rehabilitates and releases.
The Program allows the Taronga researchers to gain knowledge of marine turtle habitat and determine where marine turtles rest and feed in New South Wales. Australia has the largest number of nesting beaches in the Indo-Pacific region, making our backyard critically important habitat for the long term survival of this species.
Taronga Wildlife Hospital receives approximately 40 Marine Turtles every year and treats more than 1000 sick and injured animals each year.
In Australia, we are lucky enough to have six of the world’s seven marine turtle species living in our waters. These solitary animals help keep algae and sponge levels down on reefs, control jellyfish numbers, fertilise dune habitats and cut sea grass, encouraging it to grow across the ocean floor.
Taronga is committed to wildlife conservation. As part of Centenary celebrations in 2016, Taronga identified 10 key species – one of which is Marine Turtles – and made a commitment to conserve these species over the next 10 years. Through research, rescue, rehabilitation, release and behaviour change initiatives, Taronga is investing in the future of Marine Turtles.
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