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Turtles seeking warmth fly to Byron for release

TWO young rehabilitated turtles are set to be released in our regions' waters after being found suffering too far from home.

Janelle, a green turtle weighing 33kgs and Alicia, a small loggerhead weighing 5.4 kgs are currently under the care of Australian Marine Wildlife Research & Rescue Organisation (AMWRRO), in Adelaide.

AMWRRO Founder Aaron Machado said the turtles were found a month apart in October and November 2016.

"Both were in terrible condition, both dehydrated and extremely hypothermic considering the 11-12 degree water," Mr Machado said.

"This is compared to the 23 degree water where they should be. They weren't in the mood to eat, had gut impaction and were very sick animals."

He said the road to recovery was steady, and involved introducing them to warmer water over time.

"Going to 12 degrees to over 20 degrees would see the animal go in to shock. We had to introduce warm subcutaneous fluids to help rehydrate the organs."

He said it is hoped both turtles will be good breeding candidates for their species.

"Janelle is no where near fully grown but it is expected she is getting close to becoming sexually mature. Alicia is only about 10 years old and has many years ahead of her provided she doesn't eat plastic again or get sick."

Australian Sea Bird Rescue's General Manager, Kieth Williams, said they will have the "happy" job of releasing them.

"It would be a real risk of this time of year to release them in southern ocean waters," Mr Williams said.

NSW Parks and Wildlife first need to give confirmation of an import and export permit before the turtles can be flown to our region.

Topics:  australian seabird rescue northern rivers environment sea turtles turtle


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