IT WAS a flippin’ fantastic day for one lucky turtle, who yesterday was released back into the wild after a remedial stint at Australia Zoo.
The 30-year-old green turtle was rescued last week when two IBS Larcom employees noticed that the animal was trying to swim down, but couldn’t. This condition, known as “floating syndrome”, is common among turtles and often fatal.
“When turtles ingest something like litter, or fishing material, or even just some food that they are unable to digest, it causes an air pocket to form in their stomach,” Courtney Brown, a QAL environmental employee, said.
“It means that they are bobbing at the top of the water, where they are at risk at getting hit by boats. And even if that doesn’t happen, the fact that they can’t swim down means that they can’t feed. It’s a slow and horrible way for them to die.”
After being treated at Australia Zoo, the turtle was deemed well enough to be released.
There was a tense moment when the turtle didn’t seem too interested in swimming at all, but it didn’t take long for the lapping water to whet its swimming appetite.
“This is the best part of the job,” Ms Brown said.
“This is a great result.”
FLOATING SYNDROME: What causes it?
- Plastic bags
- Nylon rope
- Rubber thongs