Demi the tracked turtle returns to the sea
WHEN local man Gary Ward found a critically endangered hawksbill turtle at The Pass in November she was covered in barnacles, unable to see and severely underweight.
Yesterday, the 60-year-old animal, named Demi by Australian Seabird Rescue North Coast, came full circle and was released into the ocean at Main Beach in Byron Bay.
Demi is the first of 15 turtles to be released by ASR North Coast with satellite trackers on their shells.
This means for the first time the rescue team will be able to see where a released turtle is for up to 300 days before it sheds its scales and the camera is disabled.
Seabird Rescue will post Demi's progress on their Facebook page as she is expected to make the journey to hawksbill turtle breeding ground at Princess Charlotte Bay past Cairns on Cape York.
ASR's Rochelle Ferris said she had mixed emotions about Demi's release because of food shortages off Byron Bay.
"I know that the habitat we're putting her back into has deteriorated so I have mixed feelings about sending her out," Ms Ferris said.
"However, for the first time I'll know exactly where this turtle is, instead of releasing them and it being a mystery."
Australian Seabird Rescue North Coast is raising money to buy 14 more turtle trackers.
You can follow Demi here - the tracker should be live from this afternoon.