Malnourished turtle nursed back to health

GOING HOME: Volunteer Emma Perry releases Blake back into the ocean.
GOING HOME: Volunteer Emma Perry releases Blake back into the ocean. Contributed

BLAKE the turtle was malnourished, underweight and in bad shape when he was found stranded on a mud flat at Quoin Island.

Luckily, Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre volunteers Emma Perry and Camille Remond spotted him and took him back to the centre.

Blake was rescued on June 6 and after more than two months of rehabilitation; Blake was finally ready to be released back into the ocean late last month.

"I'm only new to the job so Blake was my first turtle I released back into the ocean," Ms Perry said.

"It was an amazing experience to be able help Blake back to his home.

"I think it's really fantastic to have a place with the correct facilities dedicated to helping sick or injured turtles and nursing them back to health so one day they can return home.

"I was sad to see Blake go, but I am happy we were able to help him and recover his health. It was an emotional experience for everyone who saw him be released."

A group of about 60 CQUniversity lecturers and teachers also watched the release of Blake as a surprise last activity tour on Quoin Island.

"We had a large group watch the release of Blake. We sort of planned it that way so that at the end of their tour they could go home with a positive experience in their minds.

"Everyone was touched - some people even had tears in their eyes.

"After releasing my first turtle, I felt more passionate than ever about the job."

Emma is a full-time volunteer of the rehabilitation centre and currently lives on Quoin Island.

"I have only been here for six weeks and over a short time period have come across quite a few injured or sick turtles," she said.

"Being in an industry town surrounded by reef, it's important that we consider how human impact affects the reef and the wildlife that lives in it.

"In situations like Blake's, sometimes the turtle just gets stuck in a bad spot and needs assistance.

"It's important that the community knows we are here and can help in situations like these."

Phone the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on 0408 431 304 for information or to report a sick, injured, stranded or found turtle.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TURTLES:

Don't leaving fishing equipment lying around - majority sick or injured turtles have actually swallowed fishing hooks, plastic bags or fishing lines left behind my fishermen.

If you see a turtle in the water floating and unable to dive - it's most likely sick. This is a common illness among turtles and if not treated the turtle will die. If a turtle cannot dive then it cannot eat and it will die.

Look out for a white cloudy colour on their shell - that's turtle sunburn. If a turtle is sunburnt it means that it has spent a large amount of time floating and therefore unwell.

If you have found a turtle floating close to the shore or stranded - don't put it back in the water. If a turtle is sick or injured and can't swim, putting it back in the ocean could potentially put it in more danger.

In any of these instances please phone the Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, they are specifically designed to look after and restore a turtle back to health.