GOING HOME: Merri Pedler, a Bachelor of Science student from Flinders University in Adelaide, gives a marine turtle a new chance at life after rehabilitation.
GOING HOME: Merri Pedler, a Bachelor of Science student from Flinders University in Adelaide, gives a marine turtle a new chance at life after rehabilitation. Dolphin Marine Magic

Turtles returned to ocean after magical rehab trip

SIX endangered marine turtles, including two critically endangered hawksbill turtles, have been released back into the ocean following a period of intense rehabilitation and care at the rescue centre at Dolphin Marine Magic.

Senior curator of animal care at the park, Greg Pickering, said the hawksbill turtles, along with four green sea turtles, were rescued from local beaches along the Coffs Coast.

"They have to come to us for a variety of reasons - fishing line entanglement is becoming increasing frequent.

"However, the main cause for problems with turtles remains 'float syndrome'.

"When turtles get float, they can't dive down, which means they can't feed.

"And even if the turtles don't succumb to starvation, they still become susceptible to shark attack, boat strike or overheating.

"After several months of rehabilitation and care, these turtles are ready to head back to the ocean and hopefully reproduce one day to increase turtle numbers in the wild."

Merri Pedler puts one of the turtles back into the ocean after rehabilitation.
Merri Pedler puts one of the turtles back into the ocean after rehabilitation. Dolphin Marine Magic

Assisting in the release were officers from NSW Fisheries and Merri Pedler, a Batchelor of Science student from Flinders University in Adelaide who is volunteering at Dolphin Marine Magic through an intern program.

This turtle release is part of the ongoing conservation work carried out by Dolphin Marine Magic, which spends at least $100,000 a year on wild animal rehabilitation.

The park rescues, rehabilitates and releases about 100 marine animals each year.

It's the only facility in NSW which is licensed to rehabilitate dolphins and small whales, and has successfully rescued and released three dolphins in the past three years.


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