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Injured green sea turtle returns to SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium for a second rehabilitation stint

An injured sea turtle that was rescued, rehabilitated and released back into the ocean in March 2019 has returned to SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.

Connie the green sea turtle arrived back at the aquarium two weeks ago after a fisherman found her stranded at Rangiputa Beach in Northland and called the Department of Conservation.

According to Andrew Christie, Curator at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s, Connie is estimated to be between 10-15 years old and is in a much better condition than when she first arrived at the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre in December 2018;

“Connie first came to us after being found stranded at Henderson Bay. She underwent rehabilitation with us for four months before we released her back into the ocean at the Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve. Over the past year Connie has put on over 5kgs, which shows she has been successful at feeding herself in the wild. We are still yet to determine why Connie washed up a second time, but it highlights the harsh reality of sea turtles’ plight in the wild, with only one in 1,000 sea turtles making it to adulthood. It is also quite remarkable that Connie had returned to the same area where she was first found in December 2018"

Andrew Christie, Curator at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s

Connie is currently suffering from buoyancy issues. The team at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s is tube feeding her every three days and treating her with an antifungal drug. The aim is to release Connie back into the wild once again at the end of summer if all goes well with her treatment.

Connie’s rehabilitation is a collaborative effort from SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s, Auckland Zoo and the Department of Conservation, with support from Countdown Supermarkets.

All turtles the team release back into the ocean are given a flipper tag with a unique code so they can be identified if they are found again. The organisations all urge anyone who comes across an injured or stranded turtle to call 0800 DOC HOT.

During the upcoming summer school holidays, kids can discover the Teeth & Tails of incredible aquatic animals as they journey through the underwater world at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s. The aquarium is taking guests on a deep dive into the form and function of sea creatures’ body parts with an activity trail, ‘Meet the Keeper’ talks, colouring-in stations and an artefacts station from Saturday 19 December 2020 to Sunday 31 January 2021.