ONE lucky green sea turtle was released back into the waters of the Whitsundays on Sunday, February 16, after being rescued in August last year by local Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) ranger Kay Kunze.
Ms Kunze, who found the turtle floating off South Molle Island, delivered it to the newly established Whitsunday Turtle Rescue Centre at Eco Barge HQ in Jubilee Pocket.
The turtle, christened Kay in honour of its saviour, then spent two weeks in care at the rescue centre before being transported to Townsville's Reef HQ Aquarium Turtle Hospital for ongoing treatment.
After six months at Reef HQ, Kay has made a full recovery and was delivered back to the Whitsundays where Eco Barge and a team of volunteers released her at South Molle Island during one of their marine debris removal trips.
Eco Barge founder Libby Edge said this was the second successful turtle release since the Whitsunday Turtle Rescue Centre was opened in May 2013.
The purpose of the centre, established in partnership with Fauna Rescue Whitsundays, is to ensure that all sick and injured marine turtles in the Whitsunday region are provided with the help that they need.
To date, the centre has cared for over 15 turtles and Eco Barge, in conjunction with partners, has also initiated a program that ensures a response to reported turtle stranding events. Volunteers have been trained by the QPWS to safely and effectively respond to stranded turtles, both on land and in the water. Members of the public who come across a sick turtle in the Whitsundays are asked to call the RSPCA's 1300 ANIMAL (264 625) hotline, to report the incident.
Ms Edge said the community had been very supportive during the establishment of the rescue centre and she thanked all those involved.
Anyone interested in volunteering or supporting the Whitsunday Turtle Rescue Centre can contact Eco Barge Clean Seas at http://www.ecobargecleanseas.org.au.
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