On the eve of National Threatened Species Day, Sam, a gorgeous 120kg green sea turtle, said goodbye to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital after being released off the coast of Mooloolaba, on Australia's Sunshine Coast. Sam had called the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital home for a month or so after he was found floating near Bribie Passage in July.
Green sea turtles are listed as vulnerable in Queensland and under threat from over-harvesting and accidental mortality from human recreational activities. Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital veterinarians are also seeing cases of ‘floaters syndrome', which means a turtle floats on the surface as a result of disease or illness. ‘Floaters syndrome' also makes it difficult for a turtle to dive for food and they are more susceptible to boat strikes.
According to Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital veterinarian, Dr Claude Lacasse, there is very little known about the syndrome but early intervention was key to Sam's survival. "Early detection meant we were able to treat Sam's illness with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication. Sam also had an old fracture on his shell which was possibly from a boat strike, but this wound did not require any treatment."
Dr Lacasse urged the public to be responsible around waterways, particularly coming in to the summer months. "We are thrilled that Sam has made a speedy recovery and is now home in the wild. If you see a turtle that is unable to dive or move out of the pathway of boat, report it.
"We also see turtles injured by a number of human recreational activities, so it's a timely reminder for the public to be considerate of wildlife when in the water," concluded Dr Lacasse.