Locals turn out to see off turtle rehab pair

Shannon BeattiePilbara News
Locals look on as Csiro scurries towards the open water at Hunters Beach.
Camera IconLocals look on as Csiro scurries towards the open water at Hunters Beach. Credit: Jessica Strickland

Two sea turtles that have been in rehabilitation in Exmouth were successfully released back into the ocean at Hunters Beach last week.

Myrtle and Csiro came to the Ningaloo Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre in need of saving and over the course of many months have been treated by veterinary surgeon Dr Jane Giliam and aquarist Bradley Dohnt.

Dr Giliam said releasing the turtles back into the wild was always the ultimate goal.

“Out of every 1000 turtles probably one survives, so by having released our first turtle Bertha a few months ago and now Myrtle and Csiro, we have effectively saved 3000 turtles ,” she said.

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“We took them to the beach one at a time. As soon as they smelt the sea and felt the sand they powered off down to the waves.”

Myrtle spent almost eight months in rehabilitation after vets in South Hedland had to amputate one of her flippers, while Csiro was named after the scientific organisation who found her with coral lodged in the back of her eye.

Dr Giliam said the community in Exmouth had been incredibly supportive of the rehab program which was proven by the approximately 120 people who went down to watch the turtles released.

“We’ve got so many people bringing in squid to feed the turtles and we’ve had cash donations for equipment,” she said.

“All of these people feel inspired to be able to offer something that is of such value in the long term.”

The rehabilitation centre still has one turtle left in their care — a hawksbill named Doherty who is recovering from plastic ingestion. Doherty is due to be released in two to three months time.

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