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Critically Endangered adult male hawksbill turtle finds his forever home

  • Wednesday 26th April 2023
  • turtle, conservation

Latest Arrival In A Larger Quarantine Pool The Day After Relocation SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast

The aquarium boasts a successful history of rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing marine turtles back to the wild; however, the latest arrival will be the first to take up permanent residency at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast. The rare hawksbill turtle was deemed unsuitable for release due to health challenges from its juvenile years in care.

Escorted by keepers from Territory Wildlife Park in Darwin, the precious cargo made a pit stop at The Ark Vet Hospital for a pre-flight vet check before he was relocated in a purpose-built transport crate with a soft, spongy mat to absorb and protect its delicate shell.

Once checked in by the Qantas Freight staff safely loaded the unique passenger into the cargo hold of a Boeing 737-800, flying onwards to Brisbane. Once landed, the well-travelled turtle was greeted by animal transport specialists, Jetpets and SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast staff before completing the final hour-long journey by road to Mooloolaba.

Oliver Underwood, Display Curator - SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast, shared, “It’s not every day an opportunity like this presents itself. The chance to take on the custodianship of such a unique, ancient, and rare marine reptile is something we are privileged to do. This turtle will allow our guests to develop a greater appreciation for marine turtles and better understand the great responsibility we all play to ensure they have a future in our world’s oceans.

“Every year, the team at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast plays a critical role in providing lifesaving care for up to one hundred marine turtles. Sadly, this number is increasing due to the increased threats that turtles face in the wild – including boat strikes, plastic pollution, entanglement, and bycatch. Unfortunately, they too face the dangers of changing environmental factors such as climate change.

SEA LIFE will soon announce an opportunity for the public to help name the turtle, stay tuned by following us on our social pages on Instagram and Facebook.

People who come across a sick or injured sea turtle in the wild are encouraged to report it immediately to the Queensland marine stranding hotline on 1300 130 372. 

Visitors to SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast can purchase a ticket for the Behind the Scenes Tour to see what goes on in the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. Guests can also discover a range of other marine and freshwater creatures at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast including sharks, rays, little blue penguins and more.

Guarantee Entry Online

  • Price includes a Digi Photo Pass with 8 digital photos – valued at $26!
  • Get your ticket on your phone
  • Book a day and time to guarantee entry - you will gain entry within half an hour of your designated time slot!

See Behind Closed Doors

  • Tour the turtle rehabilitation area, learn what happens behind the scenes
  • Spaces are limited - book fast to save disappointment
  • Includes aquarium admission

Unlimited Entry

  • Enjoy 12 months unlimited entry to SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Aquarium
  • Great savings for food and in gift shop
  • Discounted additional experiences