Taronga returns gentle giant to Sydney harbour

Taronga returns gentle giant to Sydney harbour

#Conservation, #Sydney Wildlife Hospital, #Taronga Zoo Sydney

Posted on 05th July 2018 by Media Relations

Taronga has released a 100kg rehabilitated male Green Turtle named Jervis and a small Green Turtle named Wanda just outside of Sydney Heads in Sydney Harbour.

Jervis was found washed up at Jervis Bay and brought to the Taronga Wildlife Hospital six weeks ago. 

“He was very sick,” says Taronga Senior Veterinarian Dr Larry Vogelnest. “He was suffering from anaemia, he had a lot of parasites on his skin, and he also had an injury to his head, but thankfully he recovered quickly.” 

Weighing in at 100kg, Jervis is a big animal, but turtles of this species can still grow larger. 

Before Jervis was released he was fitted with a satellite tracker. “These trackers are providing important data to us, particularly in respect to unique habitats around this part of NSW that the green turtles live in and feed. This is unique data because it is not readily available,” says Dr Vogelnest. 

The data collected from Jervis’s satellite tracker will add to a Taronga research project, supported by Suez. With these satellite trackers, Taronga aims to measure the post-release success of each Marine Turtle that Taronga Wildlife Hospital rehabilitates and releases.

Taronga researchers are also studying critical Marine Turtle habitat usage through the tracking program. Taronga Wildlife Hospital has rehabilitated, released and tracked 13 turtles as a part of this program so far.

Taronga Wildlife Hospital receives approximately 40 Marine Turtles every year and treats more than 1,000 sick and injured animals each year.

In Australia, we are lucky enough to have six of the world’s seven Marine Turtle species living in our waters. These solitary animals help keep algae and sponge levels down on reefs, control jellyfish numbers, fertilise dune habitats and cut sea grass, encouraging it to grow across the ocean floor. Australia has the largest number of nesting beaches in the Indo-Pacific region, making our backyard critically important habitat for the long term survival for these species. 

Taronga is committed to wildlife conservation. As part of Centenary celebrations in 2016, Taronga identified 10 key species – one of which is Marine Turtles – and made a commitment to conserve these species over the next 10 years. Through research, rescue, rehabilitation, release and behaviour change initiatives, Taronga is investing in the future of Marine Turtles. 

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