That’s right, over the past few weeks, baby loggerheads have been washing up on beaches in the South-west, Peel and along the Perth coastline. They shouldn’t be this far south, but they’ve been caught up in the unusually strong climatic conditions and swept down the coast by the Leeuwin current. The youngsters, no bigger than a small side plate, have been battered and bruised in the rough seas, some are missing flippers and sporting various abrasions.
Many of them are weak, very cold and all of them are in need of some TLC.
That’s where we come in. Saving wildlife isn’t just our slogan, it’s what we do!
Perth Zoo is the ONLY place in WA to provide intensive veterinary care to endangered marine turtles. When they initially arrive at our hospital, we give them a thorough medical examination checking for external injuries, checking their eyes, taking x-rays and blood tests before setting them up in ‘turtle ICU’ to stabilise them. In the first 24 – 48 hours we focus on gradually warming them up and getting them to feed – squid is a fishy favourite! Then when they are medically ready, we move them to a ‘turtle ward’, into larger deeper pools to ensure they can swim and dive properly before transferring them to external rehab facilities, normally at AQWA or Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre.
Everyone’s aim is to get these little turtles back to the wild, and we are very proud to play a part.
There are seven species of marine turtles in the world and six occur in Australian waters. All six species have suffered population declines and are internationally recognised as a species of conservation concern. Loggerhead Turtles are listed as endangered in the World Conservation Union Red List of Threatened Animals.
We expect that we’ll receive more turtle patients over the coming weeks. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled if your enjoying long walks along sandy beaches, but if you do see a stranded baby turtle, the public are advised to place the turtle in a well ventilated container with a dry towel on the bottom, and contact the Wildcare Helpline for advice. Sea turtles have specialised care requirements, and should be transported to expert care as soon as possible.