BIG DAY: Australian Seabird Rescue members release Demi into the ocean at Byron Bay’s Main Beach last year.
BIG DAY: Australian Seabird Rescue members release Demi into the ocean at Byron Bay’s Main Beach last year. Alex Utting

Demi the turtle slips tracking tag

AFTER a 1000km journey stretching 189 days, Demi the rescued hawksbill sea turtle has broken free of her electronic tracking device.

Australian Seabird Rescue said her device stopped transmitting on February 17.

Rochelle Ferris said 60-year-old Demi, who was released at Main Beach in Byron Bay on August 19 last year, was likely on her way home to New Caledonia.

The project and research manager was confident the turtle was not in peril, but was likely happy, healthy and stuffed full of sea sponges.

"She's in a very, very remote location and we know she has been foraging around coral reefs, so it's likely she knocked it off," Mrs Ferris said.

"When you look at the tracker it seemed like she was getting her bearings, probably returning home."

Mrs Ferris was proud of being involved in a project so critical to sea turtle conservation.

"Over the last decade of rescuing sea turtles we've never seen what happens when they're back in the ocean," she said.

"To help with future studies we need to know where they go and what they do."

When Demi was rescued by the group in November 2012 she was covered in barnacles, unable to see and severely underweight.

Meanwhile, about 100 to 150 hatchlings of unidentified species hatched at Tallow Beach, Byron Bay, last week.

A 90cm green sea turtle, aged between 75 to 120, was also rescued last Friday.

Turtle Tracking

  • The rescue group aims to equip another 14 turtles with James Cook University tracking devices, but they need $4000 per tracker.
  • To donate call the rescue service on 6686 2852.
  • For more information visit www.seabirdrescue .org.

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