Issue 21
Monday, 04 December 2017
Charles Darwin University
E-news
Morla the green sea turtle, pictured with Aquaculture technical officer Dan Costa, is tagged and returned to the wild after regaining strength at CDU’s turtle rehabilitation centre
Morla the green sea turtle, pictured with Aquaculture technical officer Dan Costa, is tagged and returned to the wild after regaining strength at CDU’s turtle rehabilitation centre

Morla goes wild with the Navy

By Ellie Turner

Morla the green sea turtle has sailed off to the Arafura Sea, near the Tiwi Islands, after regaining her strength in the turtle rehabilitation centre at CDU’s Aquaculture precinct.   

Aquaculture technical officer Dan Costa said the 52kg beauty was shy and had floating syndrome, from gas accumulation, when she arrived at the centre in mid-September, after two months of treatment at Animal Ark Veterinary Clinic.

“Morla lost all the gas after about two weeks and was able to spend most of her time sitting or swimming around the bottom of the tank, as turtles should do when well,” Mr Costa said.

“She would scratch her belly on the coral on the bottom of the tank, and her diet included leafy green vegetables grown in our Aquaponics section, along with squid and prawns.

“She also loved scratches on her shell with the broom.”

Morla, a sub-adult turtle less than 30 years old, was rescued by Royal Australian Navy patrol vessel HMAS Childers in July, after sailors found her injured and floating near Milikapiti (Snake Bay), on Melville Island.

NT Parks and Wildlife recently transported her from CDU to HMAS Coonawarra, where she was loaded into a patrol boat and subsequently released back into the wild.

She was tagged before release for future research purposes.

The turtle rehabilitation is a collaborative effort between CDU, AusTurtle, Animal Ark Veterinary Clinic, and NT Parks and Wildlife, to support and maintain the health of sick sea turtles from across Northern Australia.