A string of semi-conscious threatened tropical turtles arriving on the far south coast continues this week as local wildlife carers approach their capacity to care for them.
Two turtles are already recovering at Merimbula Aquarium and a third is in care at the home of Australian wildlife rescue organisation, WIRES, president Janine Green after being found floating sideways at Narooma last weekend.
The newest patient, Diamond, is the eighth discovered in 18 months.
Mrs Green has traced the turtles and their story with the help of the Townsville Turtle Hospital at Reef HQ Aquarium.
It says a severe weather event in 2012 destroyed sea grasses the turtle usually graze on and believe some juveniles are getting lost when they forage further afield.
Mrs Green said they become very vulnerable when the cooler southern water sends them into topor, a hibernation-like state similar to other reptiles, in order to conserve energy.
An X-ray of Diamond revealed a damaged shell, including an air pocket.
“Diamond has a blunt trauma injury to the left side of her shell on her back and the scutes are out of alignment from a crushing blow,” Mrs Green said.
“She has an air pocket the size of a 50 cent piece under the shell causing her to float upwards on the left hand side.”
It is hoped intensive treatment will be successful in coming weeks then Diamond can join two other green turtles at Merimbula Aquarium.
They are gaining weight and strength since waking up in the warmer water and will be released when the ocean warms.
Mrs Green has made arrangements to ship patients to Sydney Aquarium if any more green turtles are found in the next three weeks.
She said a turtle in torpa is easy to pick.
“Normally they would swim off, but these aren’t they are just hanging around and not moving much,” she said.
WIRES volunteers care for sick or injured native wildlife from their homes.
Mrs Green is currently also caring for three wombats, kangaroos and wallabies and is preparing for an influx of possums as their breeding season gets underway.
Residents should check their rooves to ensure possums can’t get in to nest and fruit growers should cover any sprayed fruit trees to keep from poisoning hungry animals.