All washed up returns fighting fit

UnderwaterWorld staff released two rehabliltated hawksbill turtles back into the wild.
UnderwaterWorld staff released two rehabliltated hawksbill turtles back into the wild. Barry Leddicoat

TWO turtles will have a big story to tell the rest of their friends if they visit a school in the ocean today.

They'll be able to tell how they nearly died, were washed up on the beach and were then rescued to spend three months in hospital with caring friends at Mooloolaba's UnderWater World.

The endangered hawksbill and green turtles were rescued in November from Yaroomba and Peregian, and were lucky to have survived as they were found weak and dehydrated.

After months of intensive rehabilitation, they were safely returned to their ocean home yesterday, marking the 572nd and 573rd turtle rescue, thanks to the Turtle Rehabilitation Program.

UnderWater World head curator Clint Chapman said he was aware of the fragility of the species.

“After months of caring for these beautiful creatures and seeing their recovery, it really is an amazing thing to watch as they are released back into the ocean,” he said.

Hopefully these two turtles won't find themselves back in hospital, but their near-death story should provide inspiration for the rest of us.

“The message we really want to send is prevention is the best cure and we can all do this by protecting our waterways to keep them clean and safe for all the animals who have this as their home,” Mr Chapman said.

UnderWater World's rehabilitation centre provides a safe haven and baby nursery for sea creatures, particularly various forms of shark.

The centre is also home for some banded-bamboo shark eggs, some of which are in the process of hatching, a wobbegong shark and a blind shark with perfect eye-sight.

Mr Chapman said blind sharks were called that because they had the unique – in shark terms – ability to shut their eyes.

The sharks were conceived at UnderWater World and will also be released in the ocean.

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