The adventures of a juvenile flatback turtle that washed up on a beach in Sydney, thousands of miles from home, after likely deviating from the East Australian Current, came to a real finding Compared to Nemo.
The flatback turtle species is endemic to Queensland and the waters of southern Papua New Guinea.
Jennie Gilbert, co-founder of the Cairns Rehabilitation Center, said it was highly unusual for a flatback turtle to travel this far south.
She said the turtle found on Cronulla Beach in May was likely sick and swept along the coast on East Australia Current.
« As a juvenile, it was likely unwell, caught by the east current, literally floated down, and washed up on Cronulla Beach. «
How long this trip took is unknown, but the turtle researcher estimates that, due to her health, it took up to several months when she was found. Cronulla weighed barely a pound.
« It was in very poor condition when it was picked up in Cronulla. It was very thin so who knows how much time has passed, « Ms. Gilbert said.
Journey along the East Australian Current with the Australian Ocean Odyssey: A journey along the East Australian Current on ABC iview.
Cronulla, the flatback turtle, was brought to Taronga Zoo for treatment and recovery.
« When it was up to its weight and ate and dived, they rang the doorbell and said, ‘Can you please take this turtle back to Queensland, where it belongs?' » said Ms. Gilbert.
But it wasn’t that easy. Like most things in 2020, the return home has been made difficult by the coronavirus pandemic.
Upon arriving in Queensland, the Flatback even had to stay in quarantine at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Center.
« It had all of the travel permits, it was here two weeks so we could check for COVID, » Ms. Gilbert said.
« I don’t think turtles are carrying COVID, but it was two weeks [in quarantine] before it was released. «
Cronulla, the epic adventure of the flatback turtle, is all the more notable given that the species’ hatchlings have an estimated one-in-1 survival rate due to predators, boat blows, and ingestion of marine debris, including plastic. 000 have.
With its quarantine period, the little flatback turtle was released this week off Green Island near Cairns and is being monitored via a microchip.
« It had a fat little belly and was in very good condition. It started very quickly on publication, « said Ms. Gilbert.
Ms. Gilbert is confident that Cronulla, the flatback turtle, will lead a long and healthy life at sea. The life expectancy of the species is estimated to be around 100 years.
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AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time, 10 hours before GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
Flatback Sea Turtle, Tortoises, Finding Nemo
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