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“Mussels” the flatback turtle flexes muscles in ocean release

Mussels the flatback turtle
Mussels the flatback turtle

 

A rehabilitated juvenile flatback turtle called Mussels will be released into the wild today and tracked by the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) using satellite technology.

The turtle is being flown to Broome for release into the ocean at Cable Beach after undergoing extensive rehabilitation at AQWA - the Aquarium of Western Australia since it was found in poor condition near Fremantle as a post-hatchling.

DPaW marine science program principal scientist Scott Whiting said Broome was selected as a release location because it had known habitat for flatback turtles.

“This turtle is extra special because it is one of only a few flatback turtles rehabilitated in Western Australia and satellite technology is being used to follow its movements,” Dr Whiting said.

“A transmitter attached to Mussels’ shell will be active for approximately two months, giving DPaW scientists insights into its behaviour after release.

“Little is known about the habitat selection, diet and movements of sea turtles of this size, especially flatback turtles.

“This study provides a unique opportunity to better understand this phase.”

AQWA marketing and education coordinator Sheigh Longstaff said the AQWA Foundation Turtle Pool cared for sick and injured turtles with the aim of releasing them back into the wild.

“This particular flatback was very young and weak when it came to AQWA for care, so it’s fantastic to see such a strong and healthy turtle now ready for release. That’s what the Turtle Pool is all about,” she said.

Members of the public can follow Mussels’ progress at sea online at www.seaturtle.org/tracking

Donations can be made for this turtle through seaturtle.org and will be directed back to WA rehabilitation facilities including AQWA.

Flatback turtles are endemic to the Australian continental shelf and nest only in the northern half of Australia.

For more information about sea turtles in WA visit www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/marine/

 

Media contact: DPaW Media 9219 9999

 

Last modified on Monday, 28 October 2013 09:46