WATCH: Emotional moment rare turtle released back to ocean
WHEN Poly the loggerhead turtle touched down on Quoin Island's beach she couldn't wait to get back into the ocean.
She's one of just four of the endangered turtle species successfully rehabilitated and released at the island's turtle hospital.
Wildlife rehabilitator Kirsten Smith said Poly was found severely ill floating in Gladstone Harbour six weeks ago by a pilot boat.
"Once we had her in for a couple of days she started to poo out pebbles and it ended up being quite a substantial amount, about two kilos worth," Ms Smith said.
"There might not have been enough food for her around the harbour so she might have been eating the pebbles off the ground and that's made her a bit sick."
When Poly arrived she was covered in barnacles and parasites and was slightly underweight.
She ate 2.1kg of squid and pilchards each day, about five per cent of her body weight, reaching a healthy 45kg upon release.
She spent time in the ICU before joining the main tank where she made it known who was boss.
Poly ganged the nickname Chomper by Quoin Island manager Richard Gilmore.
"When we found her I helped transport her over to the island and she decided to take a liking to one of my fingers and took a bit of a nibble," Mr Gilmore said.
Since 2010 Quoin Island has seen 251 pass through the centre.
There are 10 turtles in care at Quoin island staying for three months on average. Boat strikes and bloating are the most common reason the turtles are brought to the island.
Poly's release comes just in time for turtle breeding season and Ms Smith is hopeful she'll be able to lay some eggs.
"It's always sad to see her go but it's really happy to see her going back to the ocean," she said.