Two very special turtles, who have been cared for by SEA LIFE Mooloolaba, were released back into the ocean on Friday (11th March) by an international athlete, as part of the aquarium’s partnership with Multi Sport.
The green sea turtles, named Merv and Harold, have been rehabilitated in SEA LIFE Mooloolaba’s state-of-the-art Turtle Hospital over the last three months after being found with ‘floater syndrome’ – a condition that inhibits the reptiles from diving for food or protection – at Warana and Sunshine Beach respectively.
While turtles are usually released by boat, Merv and Harold were given special clearance by the Department of Heritage Protection to be returned to the wild straight off Mooloolaba Beach with the help of Spanish athlete Mario Mola, a top contender in this weekend’s Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup.
Mario Mola assisted in releasing the pair, whose movements will be tracked via a titanium tag inserted into their flippers, allowing conservationists to collect important data about the endangered species.
SEA LIFE Mooloolaba general curator Aaron Sprowl said the important partnership between Multi Sport and SEA LIFE Mooloolaba has a natural synergy and provides a great opportunity to spread their conservation message.
“We are proud of the fact that the Sunshine Coast continues to attract world-class, international events such as the Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival, and we are thrilled that Multi Sport is using this event to highlight the need for conservation programs such as turtle rehabilitation,” Mr Sprowl said.
“SEA LIFE Mooloolaba has cared for more than 1,000 sick or injured turtles over the past 25 years and we can’t stress enough the importance of putting rubbish in the bin and keeping waterways clean.
“In line with SEA LIFE’s strong ethical and environmental values BREED, RESCUE and PROTECT, the entire team is committed to keeping the environment clean to protect marine animals.”
Multi Sport event marketing and media manager Courtney Akrigg said they are happy to showcase SEA LIFE to the international audience the Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival attracts.
“The Sunshine Coast offers many remarkable tourism experiences and SEA LIFE is a must-do on the itinerary for athletes and their supporters,” Ms Akrigg said.
“It is incredibly special that one of our highest profile international athletes can take part in the conservation program while he is here in Mooloolaba and release a turtle on Mooloolaba Beach – its natural habitat.”
SEA LIFE Mooloolaba has been involved in rehabilitating sea turtles for many years, and in 2012 introduced the Ocean Tank and Turtle Temple zones which have become an integral part of the attraction’s marine conservation program.