Small, covered in barnacles and fighting for her life – that was the way a young and critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle was found by SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium staff late last year after receiving a tip-off from the public.
The 4kg turtle, named Avalon after the beach she was seen floating off in New South Wales, was barely responsive in mid-November when the team picked her up and rushed her back to the aquarium’s Animal Rescue Centre for emergency treatment. Fortunately, she is now on the road to recovery and there are hopes that one day she will swim back into the wild.
“When we first saw her, we didn’t think she would pull through. She was in quite a critical state and it was really important that we moved quickly so that we would be able to turn her health around in a positive direction.”Kellie Carmody On-site Vet Nurse, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
Using resources available inside the aquarium’s Animal Rescue Centre – one of only two centres licensed to rescue and rehabilitate turtles in Sydney – the team took bloods and conducted X-Rays to discover the young Hawksbill was suffering from extreme dehydration, a severe infection and congested intestines. She was also covered in groups of crustaceans called barnacles, that can cause discomfort and reflect poor health in turtles.
The team of SEA LIFE experts put Avalon on fluids and antibiotics as well as other supplements. Within a few weeks, she was responding positively to her treatments and heading towards recovery.
“It’s great to see her get her fight back. It’s really important to us that we get her back into good health and give her a good chance at returning to the ocean so that she can contribute to repopulating her critically endangered species.”Saskia McDonald SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarist
Once Avalon has completed her recovery and been cleared by the Animal Rescue Centre's veterinary team, a suitable location will be chosen for her release to the wild, in accordance with the centre's licence from New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife.