Critically Endangered Hawksbill Takes Up Permanent Residence On The Sunshine Coast

A Critically Endangered hawksbill turtle named Budgial has made a splash, diving into his forever home at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Aquarium. Until now, SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast has been permitted to only house rescue marine turtles for rehabilitation, making Budgial the first-ever marine turtle to take up permanent residence at the aquarium.

The rare adult male hawksbill turtle was relocated from Darwin in April 2023 before undergoing 30 days of quarantine, a requirement for all new animal arrivals to ensure the ongoing health and welfare of all creatures at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast.

The Hawksbill underwent an 8-week training program, allowing the team to easily recall him for feeding and regular weighing. He was then transferred into the dive loch to acclimatise for 24hrs before being released into the aquarium’s ocean tunnel. This arrival marks a first for SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast, and the first time Budgial has been among other marine creatures having lived a solitary life.

“To offer this beautiful animal a forever home with us on the Sunshine Coast is extremely exciting, not just for us but for the wider community too. We worked hard for many months to be able to offer a forever home to Budgial. We are thrilled to finally be able to share him with guests as he explores his new home here on the Sunny Coast.”

Laura Kippax, Senior Aquarist, SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast

The hawksbill’s arrival allows guests to cast their eyes on an incredibly rare animal, learn about the turtle’s role in the marine environment and better understand the challenges they face in the wild.

Visitors to SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast can purchase a ticket for the Behind the Scenes Tour to see what goes on in the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. Guests can also discover a range of other marine and freshwater creatures at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast including sharks, rays, little blue penguins and more.