Rescued turtles released back into the sea

·2-min read

Three turtles are now swimming free in the ocean after washing up on Australia's southeast coast and being nursed back to health by rescuers.

The trio - Avalon, Warnie and Cutler - were released this week at Zenith Beach near Port Stephens in the NSW Hunter region.

Avalon, a critically endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtle, was found washed up on Avalon beach on Sydney's Northern Beaches in November 2020.

Weighing less than four kilograms, the extremely malnourished and dehydrated turtle had barnacles and algae growth growing on her shell, indicating she had likely been adrift for a long time.

Rescuers from the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium put her in their intensive care unit, nursing her back to health until she tipped the scales at 13.6 kilograms.

Joining Avalon was a pair of Loggerhead Sea Turtles that had been under the expert care of SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium.

Cutler was found on Cutler Beach in Gippsland and Warnie was found in Warrnambool in late 2021.

They both suffered from a condition known as 'Floater Syndrome' which prevents them from being able to dive and forage for food.

In the weeks before their arrival there were extreme storms along the east coast and it's suspected they got caught in a storm front which swept them to southern Victoria.

The sudden drop in water temperature would have shocked their system making them "positively buoyant".

"The vast majority (of Loggerhead sea turtles) that end up in southern Victoria are here because they are either caught in strong storms or currents or they are very weak from an underlying illness or injury," veterinarian Brett De Poister said.

Cutler and Warnie responded well to the care provided by a team of vets and aquarists and are now enjoying warmer waters in NSW, along with Avalon.

Most turtles found washed up on beaches have ingested plastic, making them sick and unable to swim.

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