A RARE turtle found in distress on a Fingal beach on the weekend was in expert care yesterday and showing promising signs of making a recovery.
The hawksbill turtle was having troubles in the surf when Fingal artist David Galloway came across the reptile at Dreamtime beach early on Saturday afternoon.
"Quite often I go down to check out the mood of the beach for my paintings," Mr Galloway said.
"I saw this turtle thrashing around in the waves obviously in distress.
"It was tossed in the waves and trying to swim out, but it was forced back into the shallows."
He called Australian Seabird Rescue, which sent a crew from Ballina to rescue the turtle.
Mr Galloway took the turtle out of the water and covered it with a wet towel.
An initial diagnosis suggested the 20-year-old female had ingested plastic or had been the victim of some kind of parasite.
Seabird Rescue rehabilitation coordinator Michelle Hall said the turtle had been named Cindy.
"She's not too bad, I can't pin-point what it is, but probably parasites," Ms Hall said. "She's not terribly underweight."
It was not clear if Cindy had eaten plastic or not. Ms Hall said it would take about two weeks for the turtle's digestive system to process whatever it had consumed.
Although pleased to have helped in some way, Mr Galloway said he hoped his next turtle sighting was like the ones before Cindy.
"I have seen them swimming in the shallows, but not in distress," he said.
WHAT TO DO
If you find an injured or sick turtle:
- Do not put the turtle back into the water.
- Cover the turtle with a wet towel.
- Move it into the shade if possible.
- Keep dogs away from the reptile.
- Call Seabird Rescue on 02 6686 2852 to report any turtle sightings.