Far Northern turtles see flip side after a horror year
AFTER being rescued from "death's door'' earlier this year, three sea turtles arrived at Fitzroy Island yesterday for the final stint of their recovery.
The trio of juvenile green sea turtles had arrived at the Portsmith Turtle Rehabilitation Centre starving and near death after widespread flooding throughout Queensland destroyed seagrass feeding areas.
The centre's co-founder Jennie Gilbert said cyclone Yasi capped off a horror run for the region's turtles, leading to an 800 per cent jump in strandings last year.
"A lot of them are literally just a shell and are really starving when we get them,'' she said.
"We bring them back from the brink.''
The newly opened second centre at Fitzroy Island will be the new home for turtles as they put on weight before being released.
"We fatten them up, so at least when they're released they have a bit of a buffer and they're not going out there searching for food straight away,'' she said.
The new rehab and educational centre is set to officially open within the next month.
Co-founder Paul Barnes said the goal was to have the capacity to house 15 turtles at any one time at Fitzroy Island.
For more information or to donate, go to saveourseaturtles.com.au
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Back from brink: Volunteer Ashleigh Greaves and turtle at Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. Picture: STEWART McLEAN