BACK TO THE WILD: Ben Nadler from Australian Seabird Rescue releases Shelayne the green sea turtle at Flat Rock.
BACK TO THE WILD: Ben Nadler from Australian Seabird Rescue releases Shelayne the green sea turtle at Flat Rock. Cathy Adams

Turtle hurtles home at breakneck speed

THE release of Shelayne the green sea turtle at Flat Rock was a special moment for Australian Seabird Rescue volunteers.

A crowd gathered yesterday to watch the turtle that had been in care for nine weeks swim home.

General manager of ASR, Kath Southwell, said "we needed that".

In the past two months, seven turtles at ASR's turtle rehabilitation centre have had to be put down.

Ms Southwell said they were not able to recover from a bacterial infection called coccidiosis.

While she said it was unsure exactly how the turtles got the infection, it is present in sea grass.

Shelayne was lucky she didn't have that infection.

She was found on October 21 on a local beach by a girl called Shelayne.

The turtle was exhausted and malnourished with a bite mark on a flipper and barnacles on her flippers and face.

She only weighed 9kg.

Ms Southwell said the turtle passed out a small piece of fibrous stuffing which may have come from a soft toy, a pillow or something similar.

After that, the turtle's recovery was one of the quickest the volunteers have ever seen.

"All the volunteers deserved something good," Ms Southwell said.

Ben Nadler from Alstonville was given the honour of setting Shelayne free.

He has been a volunteer for six months.

He grew up on a sheep and cattle farm at Warren in central western NSW, and said he always has had an interest in animals and enjoys caring for them.

He said it was a special moment to release Shelayne.

But given his farming upbringing, he doesn't get too emotionally attached to the animals that come into ASR for care.



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