SEA Shelter is a wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release organisation, especially equipped to help sick and injured sea turtles.
The organisation is based at Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters at the Corner of Port Stephens Drive and Nelson Bay Rd at Anna Bay.
Sea Shelter works with Taronga Zoo and other wildlife rescue organisations to save turtles and other animals that need care and rehabilitation before they can be released back into the wild.
A baby turtle was recently recovered on a local beach.
Unfortunately this young turtle did not survive, however if rescued turtles are placed into suitable care quickly they stand a better chance of long term survival and reintroduction into the wild.
Worldwide, six of the seven sea turtle species are classified as threatened or endangered, due to the actions of humans.
According to NPWS Ranger Keely Markovina, marine turtles are a threatened species and it is important to protect them, as they are very vulnerable and should not be disturbed.
“Marine turtles face many threats, including beach erosion, artificial lighting and climate change and these issues could also affect nesting patterns.
“We believe NSW beaches will become increasingly important for turtle nesting if sand, sea and air temperatures continue to rise, as our climate is cooler than in QLD where there is a higher amount of turtle activity than here.”
The National Parks and Wildlife Service is urging people to report sightings of turtle tracks, hatchlings and dead or injured turtles to the local NPWS office as soon as they see anything.
“Don’t disturb a nesting turtle, be careful where you walk and remember that dogs are not permitted on beaches in national parks,” Miss Markovina said.
“It’s also important to dispose of litter, plastic and fishing line properly as turtles can become entangled or eat plastic rubbish washed into the sea.”
Balloons released into the atmosphere also form a deadly hazard for turtles and we are encouraged not to release balloons.
Lia Periera Founder of Sea Shelter told News Of The Area, “It’s our mission to save as many as we can, so if you see any turtles in the wild that need our help please get in touch.
“They are a keystone species just like sharks and rays, they help keep our oceans healthy.
“You can do your bit by taking your used fishing lines and nets away to dispose of responsibly, reduce your plastic waste and keep nesting beaches clean and clear for turtles to lay their eggs,” she said.
By Marian SAMPSON