Quicksilver Group NewsNovember 14th, 2013
Turtley Terrific by Two
A small Hawkesbill turtle named Harry is helping to solve the mysteries of a turtle’s “missing years”, while Di the Green Sea turtle has set out on a new adventure and life at Low Isles after being released.
Marine experts know that all turtle hatchlings instinctively head out to the open ocean once they are born. These early years of all species of turtles are known as the ‘lost years’. What is unknown are the hatchlings life history, feeding, dispersal or recruitment methods to the tropical reefs. While information regarding their life is scarce a small hawksbill turtle was found swimming around our reef cruise vessel Silverswift at Flynn Reef last week in distress.
The Silverswift crew rescued the hatchling turtle and brought it back to the mainland to be assessed by the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. The turtle is the size of a hand palm and is thought to be about 3-6 months old. Jennie Gilbert co-founder of the CTRC said “this is the smallest hawksbill turtle that has been brought into the centre and this size is rarely seen in the wild until they are larger. “We do not know where they go or how far they travel at this age”.
Dougie Baird, Environmental Manager for the Quicksilver Group said, “To see a turtle of this size is amazing. Turtles are struggling currently and for every 1000 turtles that hatch only about 1 reaches adulthood so it is important that we gain a better understanding of these young turtles and their habits.” The turtle named by the crew as Harry the Hawksbill is believed to have floaters syndrome. Harry has started eating squid and prawns and while Harry may be in care for many months until recovered enough to be released, his prognosis is good.
So while the Quicksilver Group rescued one turtle, Wavedancer from Port Douglas assisted in the release of Di the Green Sea turtle at Low Isles on Friday 8 November. Di was found in Port Douglas and is a juvenile about 10-15 years old and had been in care for 12 months. CTRC chose to release Di as close to where she was found and with the turtle population at Low Isles we are hoping she will find a few mates to swim and play with.