Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Madeleine Smitham
Frances releases Alice the turtle back to the wild

A juvenile Green Turtle named ‘Alice’ is back at sea to help humans learn more about turtles’ secret lives.

Taronga Wildlife Hospital Veterinarian, Frances Hulst, said: “Alice was found injured at Shoal Bay in January with fishing line wrapped around her front flipper and hooks lodged in her cheek, flipper and oesophagus.  I successfully removed the hooks and line, then we carefully monitored Alice over weeks while she continued to pass fishing line through her gut.”

 “Abandoned fishing line is deadly to marine life as it’s extremely strong and can shred through internal organs,” said Frances.

After a full recovery Alice was released by Frances off the heads of Sydney Harbour with a satellite tracking device carefully glued to her shell.  She joins five other turtles released with trackers as part of Taronga’s sea turtle tracking project funded by the sale of Fish-for-Good reusable shopping bags at Woolworths.

Taronga Wildlife Hospital Manager, Libby Hall, said: “These turtles we’re releasing travel all around the world. Once they’ve reached sexual maturity they’ll come back to their nesting beach to lay eggs but before they do that their movements are a mystery. So one of the reasons we’re tracking them is to find out where they go.”

“So far we’ve found out that a Green Turtle named Norah the Explorer preferred to go into estuaries and feed on sea grass. She travelled up and down off the coast of Wollongong, Sydney, Hawksnest and spending time in the Hawkesbury River and Newcastle harbour. “

“Whereas the Hawksbill we released just headed straight off shore towards Lord Howe Island. It was amazing to watch the satellite images as they came through.”

“We’re expecting to see the same results from Alice.”

We can all help turtles complete their ocean journeys safely by properly disposing all fishing line and hooks so they don’t end up hurting and potentially killing sea turtles and other marine life. 

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