SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium has officially opened its Animal Rescue Centre with the arrival of its first patient, a rescued Green Sea Turtle named Matilda.
Following the closure of Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary in 2018, SEA LIFE Sydney began working on its own Animal Rescue Centre, which has been in the making for over six months.
The Centre has the approved permits to rescue animals from all of New South Wales and a dedicated team of curators and aquarists who will rehabilitate and nurse the patients back to health before releasing them back into the wild.
“Following the closure of Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary, we’ve been working hard to build a similar Animal Rescue Centre at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. I’m really proud of the team for creating a centre that can care for marine life ranging from turtles to sea snakes and tropical fish. The Animal Rescue Centre embodies the SEA LIFE values of: Breed, Rescue and Protect and I look forward to sharing more successful rescue stories.”Richard Dilly, General Manager at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
Emily Best, Senior Aquarist at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, said “We got a call back in February from a member of the public who advised us that a Green Sea Turtle was found struggling in Dolans Bay, Port Hacking (NSW). The female turtle was underweight, suffering from buoyancy issues and covered in barnacles.
"Matilda wasn’t eating much at the beginning and we were becoming quite concerned, then after two weeks we came in to see that she had passed plastic during the night. The poor thing had ingested over one meter of fishing line and a sticker from a Turkish candy bar, which had clearly caused her discomfort, pain and impacted her appetite. Matilda’s rescue reinforces the devastating impact that plastic pollution is having on marine life, who mistake plastic for food. Fortunately for Matilda, she didn’t fall victim this time but others will if we don’t change our ways
"After six weeks in the Animal Rescue Centre, Matilda has got her appetite back, she’s gained weight, is nice and strong and we’re thrilled to confirm that we’ll be releasing her back in to the wild in the next few weeks,” said Emily.
The Animal Rescue Centre took over three months to build and now contains five rescue tanks with unique water filter systems that can accommodate up to seven rescue animals at any one time.