Sea Shelter releases two turtles in Bay

Frida on the beach ready for release. Photo: Marian Sampson.

LOCAL conservationists Lia and Ryan Pereira, founders of Sea Shelter, could not be happier after they and a team of dedicated volunteers were able to release not one but two of the turtles in their care back into the Bay.

Sea Shelter operates out of Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters at Anna Bay.

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The larger of the two turtles, Frida, is an adult green sea turtle which came into care at Sea Shelter on 18 April 2022.
Under the care of marine biologist Ryan Pereira, Freda had to be tube fed for almost four months.

Ryan told News Of The Area, “Once you get to the point of not being able to tube feed anymore the animal goes downhill fairly quickly and dies.

“So for her to start eating at the very last possible minute was really quite amazing.

“Sometimes an animal really stands out from the others.

“Frida is one of those for me.

“She is such a sweet and gentle soul.”

Despite blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds and CT scans, the wildlife rescue team who work with Taronga Zoo still don’t really know what was wrong with her.

“Frida holds the record for the longest tube feeding of any turtle we have had and was literally to the point of us no longer being able to tube feed,” said Ryan.

While Ryan did the tube feeding Frida’s care was very much in the hands of the volunteers who work at Sea Shelter.

“To all of you who spent hours of your busy lives trying to coax her to eat and cleaning up after our messy girl, I want to say a huge thank you.”

Sea Shelter volunteer Tania Rossiter said, “Frida is one of the greatest achievements and I will always be proud that I was a part of the team that nursed this magnificent girl back to health.”

Also released was Xara, a green sea turtle who endured one of the shortest hospital stays at Sea Shelter after arriving on 28 September.

She was found in the Nelson Bay Marina by locals Alicia and Sohpia Barnes.

Xara was lethargic and floating due to a gut issue.

She had an infection as well as a partial blockage.

Once treatment began she regained her health very quickly.

Xara’s carers noted that while she began eating on her own after only one week, she loves squid and fish but is not so keen on her greens.

The team at Sea Shelter said they are overjoyed to be finally releasing some turtles.

It has been a tough year for volunteers, as repeated flood events brought with them high numbers of sick and deceased turtles.

At points, Sea Shelter had ten turtles coming into care at a time, most of them suffering from infections.

The Sea Shelter volunteers have tried to release Frida and Xara a number of times, however more weather events and a sewage event last week have prevented it.

More releases are now on the horizon, including the release of a juvenile hatchling out to sea, and Sea Shelter’s all time longest ever resident, the forever floating Beryl, who can be released once her tracker arrives!

Ryan Pereira expressed thanks to all those involved in the recent turtle releases.

“The release of Xara and Frida would not have been possible without the care of the whole Sea Shelter team.

“From those who raised funds, vets – at least five helped with these two turtles, including Gin Ng, Don Hudson, Emma Hall, Emelie Paige, David Blyde and Brad Garlic – the rehabilitation volunteers, Irukandji staff, admin staff and volunteers as well as the Port Stephens Koala Hospital, The Wild Vet, Sea Bird and Turtle Rescue Central Coast and Asquith Veterinarian Hospital.”

“Thanks for being part of their adventure, you are all amazing people,” said Ryan.


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