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VIDEO: Andy the turtle swims back to health

The release of Andy, a seven year old green sea turtle.
The release of Andy, a seven year old green sea turtle. Mike Richards GLA010417TURTLE

USUALLY releasing turtles back into the ocean is a four-second process, but Andy the turtle had other thoughts.

After being found unwell on the shores of Lilley's Beach at Boyne Island in November last year, Andy was nursed back to good health by the staff and volunteers at Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (QITRC).

QITRC owner Bob McCosker said usually when they released turtles they were in the water within seconds.

"It was a really slow release," Mr McCosker said.

"It's crazy, he's been fighting to get back into the water and when he gets in the water he doesn't want it."

Mr McCosker said Andy had suffered from leaches and was a floater, meaning he couldn't dive.

"He was a bit sick, we don't really know why," Mr McCosker said.

"He was lethargic, really weak and not drastically underweight ... leaches usually do that."

QITRC volunteer Fiona Braam said she cared for Andy for four months and was able to release him back into the wild today.

"He's a great animal, lots of energy," Ms Braam said.

"Now he's stealing fish from everyone ... he's very cheeky."

Estimated to be six years old, Andy was named after the man who found him.

Though they normally keep turtles for about three months, Ms Braam said they kept Andy for longer because of the wet weather.

Andy was the first turtle Ms Braam had released, making it an emotional moment for her.

"I feel like his mum, feeding him twice a day now he's going out into the big world," she said.

"I almost cried."

With Hookup just around the corner, Mr McCosker said he wanted people to be careful with fishing hooks and lines.

"They have to be aware of the environment around ... turtles are wildlife, not just another thing in the water," he said.

"If you catch a turtle on a hook, don't just cut the line and throw the turtle back.

"You have to bring the turtle back otherwise the hook will kill it."

Mr McCosker said it was important people did not throw hooks or fishing line overboard because they lasted thousands of years.

If you find an injured turtle, Mr McCosker said to call QITRC on 0408 431 304.

Topics:  lilley's beach quoin island turtle rehabilitation centre


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