Last week GN had the privilege of attending the 100th Turtle Release on Quoin Island. Quoin Island, located just off the coast of Gladstone, holds a Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. The centre is Gladstone’s first permanent marine turtle rehabilitation facility and has been open and operational since early 2012.
Previously our region had no such rehabilitation facility dedicated to marine life, which impelled Quoin Island Retreat owner Bob McCosker to establish the centre, along with support from Australia Pacific LNG.
The centre has cared for almost 200 turtles in the last four and a half years, licensed to rehabilitate up to 10 turtles at any one time. At the moment, the centre is caring for 5, with Roxanne being released last week, making it the centres 100th turtle release.
Roxanne is a female Green Turtle that has been at the centre for a number of months, and was found in the Gladstone harbour. Last week, after reaching a goal weight that carers had set for her, she was finally released. Volunteer and Marine Science Zoology graduate Jess said that it’s great to be able to release Roxanne back into the area that she would know well.
Another turtle currently being rehabilitated is Dori, weighing in at around 100kg, and the team estimate she is around 50 years old. She shares a pool with Betty, Ducky, Frankie and Joy, and a hawksbill turtle is also currently being cared for at the centre.
Frankie has suffered a head injury and the team believe it may be best for him to be sent to another facility such as the Australia Zoo or Underwater World in place of being released back into the sea. However, without his rescue and rehabilitation at the centre, Frankie would likely not have survived.
The centre runs on the help of volunteers such as Jessie, Eddy, Karen and Dianne who carry out the feeding of the turtles and cleaning of the facilities. The volunteers keep a close eye on the weight and health of each turtle, with the main goal being a successful release back into the sea.
Volunteering since March 2012, Dianne said
“I think the best part of being here is watching them get released. It’s a big effort from volunteers, to sponsors, to Bob keeping the facility open, and it’s great to see them released and nice and healthy after all our hard work.”
Turtles cared for at the centre have been rescued from as far south as Bundaberg and as far north as Yepoon. They have all recovered from a number of injuries or health problems from boat strikes and natural causes.
The establishment of Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre is supported by Bob personally, in addition to corporate sponsorship, fundraising, and volunteer support.
The daily costs of food, medication, cleaning supplies, power and water are considerable in themselves, combined with transportation costs of for the volunteers and animals. There are also obviously costs associated with facility expansions and improvements, as well as surgical procedures and vet bills.
However, Bob McCosker said that he sees a bright future for the centre.
“It is important to keep the centre going as it is the biggest educational tool we have in Central Queensland for marine wildlife.”
If you happen to spot a sick and injured turtle around the region you can call the Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on 0408 431 304.
GN wishes the centre all the best for the future, as well as Roxanne who is now happy and healthy, and back to enjoying her life in the water.