A COMBINED effort by WIRES members across two districts got a very sick and weak green turtle into care.
A concerned member of the public rang the WIRES Mid-South Coast branch on December 30 about a marine turtle covered in seaweed at Rosedale Beach south of Batemans Bay.
A WIRES volunteer went to the rescue and because green turtles are on the endangered species list, he contacted a representative from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
National Parks in turn contacted Janine Green from WIRES Far South East branch, who has treated quite a few marine turtles of late.
The WIRES volunteers up in the Eurobodalla were given advice on how to start stabilising the majestic creature, while the Far South Coast volunteers drove up from Merimbula to pick up the injured female turtle.
They drove the 9.6kg turtle to Ms Green's residence, where the patient was placed straight on a heat pad and a drip.
A total of 1.8 kilograms of seaweed and sand was removed from the turtle’s shell, which equated to one-third of her total body weight.
“No wonder she was sluggish!” Ms Greens said.
Another volunteer went and got drums of fresh seawater that was put on the stove to bring it up to the required temperature.
One week later, the turtle is still alive and being given vitamin B injections to stimulate her appetite.
“Slowly she appears to be recovering, moving her flippers and turning around even though so many toxins are being flushed out of her,” Ms Green said.
Her water is changed daily and she is put back on the drip every day.
If she continues to recover, the volunteers will move her to a larger tub at Merimbula Aquarium where they helped WIRES save and release a Hawksbill turtle last year.
Asked how the turtle came to be in such a state, Ms Green theorised:
“The water is too cold for her down here and has been for the last few months - so a type of hibernation occurs and they slowly starve and hence the amount of seaweed growing on her.”
If you see an injured or orphaned native animal, ring WIRES Mid South Coast on 0427 020 327 or WIRES Far South Coast on 6495 4150, and a WIRES volunteer will respond as quickly as possible.