After three months a very special patient at Perth Zoo, Flo the Hawksbill Turtle, has finally moved one step closer to his return to the wild!

He was found floating off the coast of Exmouth and was brought to the Zoo by Parks and Wildlife service in August.

When Flo first arrived he was covered in barnacles, a sign that he had been inactive for quite some time before he was rescued.

Perth Zoo vet nurse, Lisa Hills has been amazed by the transformation Flo has made since he first came into their care.

“He was really sick when he first arrived, almost lifeless, and now we have been working with a 55 kilo turtle and he’s got that strength back,” Lisa said.

Over time Flo became more active and was moved to a larger outdoor pool. But the biggest milestone was when he started eating, after refusing food for the first few months.

A few weeks ago Lisa had brought in some greens to make an artificial coral bed in Flo’s temperature controlled pool.

“I saw Flo mouthing at some of the lettuce leaves I’d put in there, and the following day is when he started eating squid,” Lisa said.

Flo has been getting two kilograms of squid every day.

“Now he’s just turning his nose up at anything other than squid, he’s quite fussy.”

This week Flo was moved to AQWA, the Aquarium of Western Australia, to continue his rehabilitation and build up his strength before his release back into the wild.

“Bit of mixed emotions for me, it’s been such a pleasure caring for Flo, but it’s so great that he has made it to the next stage,” Lisa said.

This year the Vet department at the Zoo had dozens of rescued wild sea turtles come into their care. Flo is the only Hawksbill Turtle and one of the largest sea turtles they have ever cared for.

See Flo enjoying a squid meal in the video below.