FREE: Ildridge and Braylen, were released at Main Beach in Byron Bay by Michael Hugh and Trudi Dunn of Australian Seabird Rescue.
FREE: Ildridge and Braylen, were released at Main Beach in Byron Bay by Michael Hugh and Trudi Dunn of Australian Seabird Rescue. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Green turtles come out of their shells to roam again

IT WAS hard to tell who was more excited - the two rescued green turtles, or the volunteers who released them at Byron Bay's Main Beach on Tuesday.

For Australian Seabird Rescue volunteer Trudi Dunn, releasing the turtles back into the ocean after weeks of loving care was "indescribable".

"It's very emotional," she said.

"I've been volunteering at Seabird Rescue for four months and this is my first turtle release. The feeling is just wonderful. After all the hours and hard work, this is such an achievement for all of the volunteers."

The two turtles, named Ildridge and Braylen by volunteers, rescued separately in September from Little Wategos and Shark Bay, near Iluka, starving and suffering from float syndrome, are estimated to be between 10 and 15 years old - teenagers in turtle years.

After an increase in turtles being washed up on Byron Shire shores lately, releasing healthy turtles back into their habitat made all of the hard work worth it, Australian Seabird Rescue general manager Kath Southwell said.

ASR has six more turtles in rehabilitation at the moment waiting for release.

ABOUT THE RESCUED TURTLES

When rescued at Little Wategos, Ildridge had a 20% barnacle cover and suffered from a bladder infection, quickly fixed with the right medication.

Ildridge only weighed about 6.5kg but has been steadily putting on weight.

Braylen washed up on the beach at Shark Bay, near Iluka, after he'd been swimming around in circles and was suffering from a very bad case of float syndrome.

Once his float syndrome started to disappear, he started eating 50g of prawns, then 100g of whitebait, then 200g of food.

After about five weeks he started eating around 400g-500g of squid.

Braylen gained 1.2kg while in care and now weighs 10.6 kg.


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