Matilda the turtle all set to hit the sea
A HAWKSBILL turtlenamed Matilda will be released for a second time into waters off Green Island today.The juvenile had been checked in for a second stint in rehab recently after being tracked in the Coral Seafor almost three years.
Turtle researcher Jennie Gilbert, from the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre,first met Matilda in 2009 when she was found at Mission Beach by local rangers.
She was transported to the centre at Portsmithsuffering "floaters syndrome" and was released in 2010 at Green Island with a tracker attached for researchers at James Cook University and the Department of Environment and Resource Management.
"The tracking device has enabled us to see how turtles live in the region and to see how and where they travel once released back into the wild," Ms Gilbert said.
"Matilda has been having a wonderful time and has travelled 4707km sightseeing the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef."
Ms Gilbert said the turtle was picked up and taken back to the centre about three months ago because she appeared malnourished.
"The trackers normally only last 12-18 months, but Matilda has now been tracked for two years and eight months.
"She stays around Green Island, visits other reefs and then comes back to Green Island."
Matilda will be released today from a Great Adventures Cruisesvessel.
Quicksilver Group managing director Tony Bakerapplauded the not-for-profit centre for assisting sick and injured turtles back into the wild.
"It's amazing from the research of her tracker that she swims on average over 5km every day," he said.
"We hope Matilda enjoys getting back to her life around Green Island."
Matilda was the first turtle on the Far North east coast of Australia to have a satellite tracking device attached to her shell.To follow Matilda's journeys, visit seaturtle.org
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Tag and release: Turtle researcher Jennie Gilbert attaches a satellite tag to help keep track of Matilda.