GALLERY: Mia the turtle is another success story for centre
MIA the turtle has a new lease on life after being released back into the wild yesterday.
The team from Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre had Mia in their care since July 11, but said their goodbyes when she was released at Lilley's Beach on Boyne Island.
The centre tries to release turtles within close proximity to where they were caught.
Mia came to the centre when she was sick and infested with barnacles and leeches.
QITRC caretaker Remi Bancal said the centre followed usual protocols when they arrive, although Mia took longer to respond to treatment.
"When they arrive you clean them up, feed them, treat them with antibiotics and take it day-by-day making sure they get their ration of fish, squid and grass. Then you hope for the best,” he said.
"Most of the time within a week or 10 days they start eating because they're not used to that kind of diet.
"It took at least two weeks for Mia to start eating normally in small quantities.”
Mia is a greedy turtle with a big appetite, although Mr Bancal said it would take some time for her to adjust to her new habitat.
"We have to imagine now she's probably not going to eat for another week, she's got to find another diet,” he said.
"That's why we feed them up.”
Mia was turtle number 191 to come into the centre since it opened at Gladstone in 2012 thanks to local businessman, Bob McCosker.
Fellow caretaker and Mr Bancal's wife, Gennette said the rehabilitation time for turtles depends on the condition they arrive in.
"We don't release them in the order they come in because some need more attention,” Mrs Bancal said.
"The last one we released was with us for just over a month because she was fine, but Mia needed longer.
"They have to also reach a goal weight before we release them and be fit.”
The feeling when releasing the turtles is more sweet than bitter according to Mr Bancal.
"It's bitter-sweet but it's mainly joy because that's where they belong and that's where you want to see them.”