When released from her protective covering on to the sand only metres from the water, ‘Iris’(pictured) seemed reluctant to move, looking around and taking in her surroundings.
But when she finally made it into the surf, there were smiles all around from Australian Seabird Rescue (ASR) volunteers and a small group of onlookers. ‘Iris’, believed to more than 40 years old, was one of five turtles that had been under the care of ASR, to be released last week. She was the first breeding age female turtle to be returned to the wild by ASR.
ASR’s acting manager, Keith Williams, said turtles didn’t reach breeding age until they were 30. He said as turtle populations declined around the world, the larger turtles were becoming a rarer sight, which made them even more vulnerable to extinction.
He said ‘Iris’ had many years of breeding in front of her.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.