Icon to treat tortured turtles

The Pet Porpoise Pool’s Greg Pickering with one of the Hawkesbill Sea Turtles currently in the pool’s care.
The Pet Porpoise Pool’s Greg Pickering with one of the Hawkesbill Sea Turtles currently in the pool’s care.

STAFF at the city's iconic Pet Porpoise Pool are get ready for the arrival of a wave of tortured turtles.

Already four endagered Hawksbill Sea Turtles (Eretmochelys Imbricata) have arrived at the pool for some intensive rehabilitation.

The Pet Porpoise Pool team works in partnership with National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to rescue, rehabilitate and release sea turtles back into the ocean.

Soliatry Islands marine Park veterinarian Dr Juan March said that the park treats up to of 60 sea turtles a year with varying degrees of illness and injury.

"In general we have seen an increased number of sea turtles this year, in particular, a number of Hawksbill turtles," Dr March said.

"These animals arrived, suffering from a range of problems, including floating syndrome, parasitism and general debilitation.

"One theory for the increase in numbers is that these animals act as 'proverbial budgies', indicating that the health of our coast ecosystems is in some serious trouble.

"By the time we see these animals, they are emaciated, extremely weak and often the outcome is not good. However at the moment we have 12 turtles in care that are nearly ready to be released - four of which are these Hawksbills.

"Considering that these animals are critically endangered, the release of four animals back into the wild is a significant event."

Hawksbill turtles are named after its noticeable beaked snout, and have a carapace (shell) with a raised, central keel and pointed shell plates (scutes) around its rear margin which is the primary source of tortoiseshell.

It lives in warm water regions, feeding on sponges, mollusks and other sedentary animals and rarely strays far from shallows and coral reefs.

Each turtle rehabilitated at the pool is identified, measured and tagged and information is compiled by NPWS and Pet Porpoise Pool team to assist in the management of turtles in NSW.

All four turtles will be released back into the ocean within the next few weeks.

Topics:  pet porpoise pool turtles

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