Quoin Island centre leads way in turtle care

GOODBYE: Volunteers Jamee Robertson, Katelin Ainsworth, Jess Ryan and Marni Morrison wish Tina luck on her journey.
GOODBYE: Volunteers Jamee Robertson, Katelin Ainsworth, Jess Ryan and Marni Morrison wish Tina luck on her journey.

GLADSTONE is leading the way in turtle care, with 73% of those being cared for at the Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre returned to the wild in a healthier condition.

The centre's founder puts that down to the empathy of the volunteers who look after the turtles.

>> Lifeguard uses skills to save distressed turtle

The statistic is twice what the centre was expected to achieve up front.

Across Queensland, animal care centres can take a total of 80 turtles in care at the one time.

Gladstone has the capacity for 20, and has become one of the most active.

Centre founder Bob McCosker said the animals responded well to the time spent with volunteers.

"Our success is based on the fact we're wildlife carers, not vets or marine biologists, just normal humans, and so empathy is one of our greatest inputs that we give to the animals and I think that comes out at the other end," he said.

Mr McCosker said there was a view that what they did was a waste of time.

"I agree that we're not going to save the green turtles of the world, or the hawksbills, but what we do is educate people," he said.

"From the 128 animals through the centre so far, 13% of those were boat strikes.

"They're not caused by the large ships, it's the small tinnies that run up the creeks that are doing the bulk of the damage."

Tina the turtle released back into the wild

IT was an exciting moment for volunteers when Tina was released back into the wild on Saturday.

The 100kg turtle has been at Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre for four months, after she was found floating in the harbour.

Centre founder Bob McCosker said they were lucky to have some of the WICET personnel monitor her in a boat until he was able to get there.

"We spent half an hour and three of us were able to pull 110kg of turtle - that didn't want to be in a boat - into a boat," he said.

Tina was found to have a big calcified tumour underneath her front right flipper.

"Because the infection was large, we were unable to remove the bulk of it, but that's why she's been in care for so long while the wound healed," he said.

Tina was eating up to 30kg of squid a week, and had to be treated daily until the wound healed.

Topics:  environment gladstone marine life quoin island turtle rehabilitation centre turtles

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