Two marine turtles have been returned to the wild after they were rescued and successfully rehabilitated this month.
A loggerhead turtle and a green turtle were released at Exmouth on 9 March.
The loggerhead was found earlier this month on Cheynes Beach in Albany suffering from exposure to cold waters and was transported to the Perth Zoo for treatment before completing his rehabilitation at the Aquarium of WA.
The green turtle was found in Exmouth last year suffering from buoyancy issues and was taken to the Exmouth Wildlife CARE group, where he was stabilised before being transferred to Perth Zoo for treatment.
He continued his rehabilitation at the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre.
Department of Parks and Wildlife regional wildlife officer Cameron Craigie said loggerheads are listed as endangered and green turtles are listed as vulnerable under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.
“They are two of the six species of marine turtles that can be found in WA waters,” Mr Craigie said.
“Juvenile loggerhead turtles are often very small – hatching at about 10cm in length on our northern beaches in April and May.
“We believe the strong current carried this individual all the way down to Albany.”
Pilbara region marine conservation officer Joanne King said tagging was important to identify individual marine turtles and determine their success once released into the wild.
“This information could be determined when they come back to nest, are sighted in their foraging grounds or are found deceased,” Ms King said.
“Long term projects such as this are important as turtles have a complex life cycle and trends in population numbers can be detected over decades, thereby improving management of this threatened species.”
The rehabilitation of the turtles and their release was a joint effort between Parks and Wildlife, the Exmouth Wildlife CARE group, the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre, the Aquarium of WA and vets from Perth Zoo.
The loggerhead has been fitted with a satellite tracker and can be followed here: http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/?project_id=879
Anyone who finds a turtle washed up on a beach should call the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.