Kelly Tarlton’s tropical green turtles swim away
For Immediate Release April 16, 2003
CAPTION: Able Seaman Mark Latu of HMNZS Canterbury releases one of the tropical green turtles into the Kermadecs Marine Reserve
away to a new life
Rescued turtles released into the Kermadec Islands Marine Reserve
A year after being rescued by Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World, three injured tropical green turtles; Bones, Jade and Michelle, have been restored to health and released into the Kermadec Islands Marine Reserve.
The turtles were brought into Kelly Tarlton’s after being found injured in waters off Northland and Auckland. They have spent a year in turtle A&E at Kelly Tarlton’s and Aquarium Curator Andrew Christie says he will miss his charges. “I became quite attached to them”, says Christie. “In some ways it’s really sad to see them go, but I know the divers at Kelly Tarlton’s will be quite relieved because during the year they have received some really good bites!”
Although the turtles are only teenagers in turtle terms, they were no lightweights. Michelle for example weighed in at a whopping 44 kilograms! When fully grown, the turtles will be a round a metre in diameter and can live for more than 90 years. Curator Andrew Christie says, “They’ll be able to do their growing in their new home at the Kermadecs. The water is warmer there and that’s where they’ll have their best chance of survival.” Before they were released, the turtles were tagged to make identification easy should they turn up again.
Aiding and abetting in the release were Lieutenant Commander Peter Kempster and the crew of HMNZS Canterbury, while the ship was at anchor off Fleetwood Bluff, the main settlement on Raoul Island, on Friday 11 April 2003.
The turtles seemed to be delighted to be once again in tropical waters and quickly swam away before being lost from sight.