6 January 2007
Thick nylon rope still entangled the large male, wrapped around its neck and a flipper.
And the real misery of the helpless creature’s plight was there for all to see – where its front left flipper should have been was just a bare bone jutting out.
“It was Happy Feet washed ashore,” said Coolum resident Wil Sprake who was on her 5am wak when she made the grim discovery.
Happy Feet is the smash hit animated movie that has a strong message about “alien” humans killing off wildlife in the ocean.
Wildlife Warriors, called in to rescue the stricken turtle, believe the rope, with float attached, was either from a drum line or part of a shark net. “We put these things (shark catching devices) out there and this is what happens,” Wil said.
“And this is one of those (caught) that we see – how many others are there like this? It shows that, like the movie, we are the aliens.”
Australia Zoo wildlife hospital senior vet Jon Hanger who yesterday operated on the 94kg turtle, said it again highlighted the impact of shark netting on marine wildlife. Mr Hanger said the time had come to abandon the deadly devices.
“We need to look at netting again, because the toll it’s taking on marine creatures, compared to the protection it offers for people, is way out of balance.”
A rescue team made up of husband and wife Kate and Brian Coulter drove from their Caloundra home after Wil raised the alarm.
Mr hanger was guarded about the turtle’s future, but hoped it could be released after lengthy rehabilitation.