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Kelly Tarlton’s launches turtle-y new interactive experience

Cause for shellebration! Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s launches turtle-y new interactive experience

Auckland, Monday 11 December 2017: Today, Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s, Auckland spread its flippers into new digital territory with the launch of New Zealand’s first and only interactive turtle rehabilitation experience, Turtle Rescue.

Using state-of-the-art technology, Turtle Rescue is an all-new interactive experience, where guests can become a turtle care expert, as they embark on a journey to understand what is involved in successfully rehabilitating a turtle.

Today’s launch swam off to a shell-tastic start with the new experience receiving a Karakia from Ngati Whatua Orakei and four of the attraction’s rescue turtles were released into their new display, happily swimming around with ease. Young turtle enthusiasts from around Auckland were also some of the first to experience Turtle Rescue with all trying their hand at the rehabilitating and releasing their own virtual turtle.

Turtle Rescue aims to educate Kiwis on the journey behind rescuing and rehabilitating turtles, something that the iconic attraction has been doing for 20 years, having successfully rescued over 100 turtles.

Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s General Manager, Daniel Henderson, said the new experience was inspired by the attraction’s conservation and turtle rescue initiatives and also aims to educate the public on the threats turtles face in the wild.

“The inspiration behind Turtle Rescue was to create an experience which not only educates the public on the journey behind turtle rehabilitation, but was also hands-on so people of all ages could go through the journey with us. The experience emulates the dedication and hard-work carried out by our talented team in our turtle rehabilitation centre,” said Mr Henderson.

“It’s exciting to be able to officially welcome domestic and international visitors alike to experience Turtle Rescue at Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s and learn about the threats turtles face in the wild and the broader rehabilitation journey.”

The new experience also has four rescued turtles on display, including three Green turtles and a juvenile Hawksbill. The juvenile Hawksbill turtle has been at the attraction for five months and was rescued having ingested plastic and suffering from a half-amputated flipper from a previous injury that has now healed.

One of the Green Turtles, affectionately named ‘Nebs’ was originally rehabilitated and released in 2016 but was caught by a fisherman after her release and has since returned to the attraction and is due to be released back into the wild in February 2018.

Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s Curator, Andrew Christie, said turtles face a number of threats in the wild so experiences like these are important for educating the public on turtles and ways they can help preserve the future of the species.

“In the wild, turtles are extremely susceptible to things including boat strikes and accidental plastic consumption through discarded plastic. We encourage Kiwis to choose to reuse, eat sustainable seafood and disposing of rubbish thoughtfully,” said Mr Christie.

“Currently, we have four rescued turtles on display and each one has a different but equally as important story to tell and we hope Turtle Rescue can help inspire action with guests and help them to be more conscious of the affect actions have on the environment.”

Of the seven marine turtle species, 5 are found in New Zealand waters and all of them are either endangered or critically endangered. Experiences like Turtle Rescue help educate the broader public on how their behaviour in and around the water can impact local marine life.

Turtle Rescue also aims to educate Kiwis on the important story around what type of turtles inhabit our coastlines, why and how they got here and where the turtles go once they are released.

For more information about Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s Auckland and the new Turtle Rescue experience, please visit: https://www.kellytarltons.co.nz

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