Nubby the one-finned turtle's returns home after attack
NUBBY the green sea turtle has been given a second chance at life after he was released back into the ocean on Wednesday.
He came into the Gladstone Area Water Board hatchery on June 20 last year, weighing in at 48kg and missing half of his front flipper.
GAWB hatchery and fishing manager Thomas Hayes said based on appearance, Nubby had most likely been attacked by their most common predator, a shark.
"Tiger sharks predominately feed on turtles but there are also bull sharks that are opportunistic,” Mr Hayes said.
Nubby was released back into his stranding location, the Toolooa bends, weighing in at close to 60kg after eating 3kg of pilchards and squid every day.
"We go with that higher-protein diet to get them healthy as quick as possible,” Mr Hayes said.
"Typically when they first come in they don't eat as much but as they recover they get more and more of an appetite.”
Nubby has spent the past few months in the hatchery's rehabilitation tanks.
Despite his missing flipper, Mr Hayes said Nubby would still be able to breed.
"It's amazing how they actually survive with a limb missing,” he said.
"He's the second or third we've seen (missing a limb) out of around 58 turtles over five years.”
Mr Hayes said typically they would see about 10 turtles a year, however their arrivals tended to come in seasons.
"The seasonal events you see are typically through winter, when the animals are in poor condition and they battle a bit more with the cooler conditions,” he said.
Nubby was the last case to be releasedfrom the Lord St hatchery, which is in the process of closing down operations.