Feel Great Features

Twin turtle release is a cause for shell-ebration

The team at Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation are shell-ebrating the successful release of twin turtles Tilly and Sammy. 

The twin turtles, who were rescued from being buried in the sand as newborns, have returned to their big blue home on the Great Barrier Reef.

Jennie Gilbert and Christian Miller of Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, and 35 volunteers travelled to Flynn Reef on the edge of the Continental Shelf with Passions Of Paradise to release the turtles.

Tilly and Sammie were found in the remains of a turtle nest in the sand and didn’t reach the water with the other hatchlings due to exhaustion. They were just 3cm in size when they were rescued and taken to James Cook University for 24-7 care with Jennie and the team. Once they were big enough, they moved to their island home at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre at Fitzroy Island where they enjoyed a diet of peeled prawns, squid, kale, broccoli and high quality fish. Their omnivorous diet reflected the diet of algae and seagrass that they would have had if they were in the wild on the drift of the Continental Shelf.

One of the twins finding newfound freedom

The team releasing one of the turtles

The twins progressed to a stage where they could be successfully released on the Great Barrier Reef. Local lad Hugo Macdonald fundraised enough to purchase a satellite tracker for one of the turtles, and both Tilly and Sammie were fitted with trackers to monitor their distance, dives, depth of dives and health.

Passions of Paradise owners Scott Garden and Roger Cumming kindly donated the use of their 30m catamaran for the turtle release and this was one of the many projects that the family business assisted in.

The team waved goodbye to Tilly and Sammie and saw them swim to freedom, knowing that they’d helped save another two lives.

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