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Posted 29-May-2018

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Release of adult male Sea Turtle provides rare insight to turtle migratory patterns

Release of adult male Sea Turtle provides rare insight to turtle migratory patterns

On Monday 21st May Brodie, an approximately 80-year-old male green sea turtle, will be prepared for his release back into the wild after an extended period in rehabilitation at Cairns Turtle Intensive Care Rehabilitation Centre (CTRC) and Cairns Aquarium. Brodie has one front flipper missing due to amputation when he was entangled in either discarded fishing line or a crab pot at Airlie Beach. His preparation will include the attachment of a satellite tracking device to his carapace. This tracking device will determine the latitude and longitude location when the turtle surfaces for a breath and the resulting data will provide vital information about turtle migratory patterns, breeding habits and vital release health profile.

When he arrived at Cairns Aquarium Brodie weighed in at approx. 100kgs. Here he was introduced into a larger body of water in which he could swim freely and learn to negotiate obstructions with only three flippers. He was trained to target feed by the aquarists who found Brodie to be particularly interactive and they were able to swim with him regularly to ensure he would have the strength to evade predators when he is released.

Life Support Services Manager at Cairns Aquarium and Co-Founder of the CTRC, Paul Barnes said “Brodie has become very popular with our staff, and guests who take a Behind the Scenes Tour. He particularly enjoys a scratch of his carapace and a playful wrestle with the aquarists and it will be very interesting to see how much muscle he has developed when we weigh him pre-release”.

Once his pre-release medical has been completed and the tracking device is attached Brodie will travel back to Airlie Beach with Libby from Eco Barge where he was rescued in a terrible state entangled in discarded fishing apparatus. Brodie’s recovery has been possible due to the vets at Marlin Coast Veterinary Clinic amputating his flipper further to make it able for him to swim, the incredibly passionate volunteers from the CTRC intensive care centre and the dedicated aquarists at Cairns Aquarium, and his new best friend the porcupine ray. All these people are looking forward to the day he will be released back into his local environment where he will hopefully breed and assist in the conservation of his endangered species.

While any successful turtle release is good news, Brodie’s release with an attached tracking device is even more exciting as it has the potential to provide marine scientists with rare insights into the movement of adult male turtles.The number of male turtles tracked by satellite is significantly less than females due to them coming ashore to nest. So, despite the circumstances that caused him to be in rehabilitation, having access to a male of Brodies size, age and sexual maturity presents quite an opportunity to look at protecting these animals.

Co - Founder of the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre Jennie Gilbert said “Every healthy turtle we return to the ocean means the tireless efforts of the volunteers at CTRC have successfully rehabilitated the turtles to be able to be released back into the wild where they belong. Fundamentalinformation will assist conservation of the species not only for turtle breeding populations but additionally public education and what is learned throughout their treatment and rehabilitation. Brodie, who has touched us all with his big personality, will be providing even more insights when his tracking device is operating and that is vital information we don’t often have access to. It will be a great day for everyone involved in his rehabilitation when he is released”.


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