Miracle moment as a turtle is released
A JUVENILE green turtle known affectionately as 'Crush' was released into the wild off Conway Beach on Tuesday, September 10, after receiving a clean bill of health from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS).
Crush was struck by an outboard propeller in early August and found stranded on Conway Beach by local resident Brad Watson.
Mr Watson called Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc for help and Crush became one of the first turtles to make use of the new Eco Barge and Fauna Rescue Whitsunday (FRW) triage facility located at the Eco Barge HQ in Jubilee Pocket.
Crush was looked after at the triage facility by eco volunteers Jo Williams and John Caldwell as well as Eco Barge founder Libby Edge, who administered antibiotics.
Within two-and-a-half weeks the turtle had lost its "float syndrome" and started to eat, putting on 400 grams by the time of release.
"That's a miracle. It's so satisfying to know you've done your best and they can go back in the wild and forage and hopefully breed and keep that turtle population alive," Ms Edge said.
Before the local triage centre became operational just one month ago, Ms Edge said injured and stranded turtles in the Whitsundays had no option but to travel to Townsville's Reef HQ.
"We still try to send them to Reef HQ where possible but if they are full, which they are presently, we can now hold the turtles for longer and care for them adequately," she said.
The new triage centre can accommodate up to four turtles in separate quarantine tanks at any one time.
Ms Edge said with eight strandings reported locally in the past month there was definitely a need for the facility and she thanked all the individuals and businesses who helped to make it a reality.
Local residents who find stranded or injured turtles can call 1300animal or the FRW hotline on 4947 3389.