Endangered turtle rescued by DOC

18:27, Sep 26 2011
Turtle on Bayly's
An olive ridley turtle, similar to this one which washed ashore a Northland beach earlier this year, was rescued by a DOC ranger today.

A Department of Conservation ranger has rescued an endangered olive ridley turtle from a south Auckland beach.

The stranded turtle was found floating in the water at Kariotahi Beach, on the Awhitu Peninsula near Waiuku, today by a local resident while she was horse riding.     

"She thought it was dead but it responded to a stimulus test so we picked it up and transported the live turtle to Kelly Tarlton's aquarium in Auckland," says Marine Ranger Martin Stanley.

"We're grateful to the member of the public who called DOC as these turtles are an endangered species."

The turtle is an adult male and there are no signs of external injury, DOC says.

Marine scientist Dan Godoy says the turtle had goose barnacles on its shell which indicated it had been floating for sometime and was unable to dive for food.

Advertisement

"That's usually due to an illness that could be caused by the ingestion of marine debris such as plastic."

Godoy says the turtle will be x-rayed and that will show whether it is the victim of marine pollution.

"Turtles are prone to ingesting plastic because they forage in areas where you get accumulations of marine debris," he says.

Godoy, who is based at Massey University's Albany campus, is doing Phd research on green turtles in New Zealand waters.

In August a rare olive ridley turtle washed ashore Baylys Beachin Northland.

Further up the coast a hawksbill turtle was located at the northern end of Ninety Mile Beach the same day.

On Auckland's west coast, a third green turtle was discovered on Karekare Beach on August 14.

All three were transported to Kelly Tarlton's to be cared for.

Members of the public who see a stranded marine turtle should call DOC's 24 hour number 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468)

Auckland Now