SMILE ZIGGY: Radio personality Banksy takes a selfie with carer Matt Lynn and turtle Ziggy.
SMILE ZIGGY: Radio personality Banksy takes a selfie with carer Matt Lynn and turtle Ziggy. Trish Bowman

It's back into the deep blue for turtles Ziggy and Shelly

GREEN turtles Ziggy and Shelly got a second chance at life yesterday when they were released back into the ocean from Emu Park Boat ramp after being rescued five months ago in two separate locations nearby.

Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre carer Kirsten Smith said when Ziggy and Shelly were found on two different beaches on the Capricorn Coast they were weak, sunburnt, emaciated and covered in leeches.

"They were both in a bad way and when we got them down to the rehabilitation centre and put them in the water they were both floating, unable to swim," Kirsten said.

"After a couple of weeks they were diving and swimming again which is wonderful."

Kirsten confirmed that 50 per cent of the turtles which come to the rehabilitation centre come from the Capricorn Coast.

Fellow turtle carer Matt Lynn said this region was fortunate to have such a caring community who do not hesitate to call for help when an ill turtle was sighted.

"Shelly and Ziggy were both around five to 20 years old going by their weight and size," he said.

"After all the upset getting them back to the ocean they will likely swim out and take a bit of a break before travelling further afield."

Newly named turtle taxi driver Keslee Crewther was on hand to see the turtles put back safely into the ocean in an act close to home.

"My son and I were at the beach taking a walk when my son Alex came across a very sick turtle a few months ago," Keslee said.

"I didn't know what to do so I made some phone calls and Acacia Veterinary in Yeppoon told us to bring her to them.

"She had purple spots on her underside which we discovered was a sign of infection and she wasn't doing well.

"Another turtle taxi driver collected her and took her for rehabilitation and that was when I started learning about all the hazards turtles face from pollution in the water to boats chopping them when they come to the surface.

"That was the point when I knew I wanted to do something to help and became a turtle taxi as well as sharing any knowledge I can on social media."

Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre is Gladstone's first permanent marine turtle rehabilitation facility, opened in March of 2012.



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