Local wildlife volunteers received hands-on training last week in the rescue and rehabilitation of stranded marine turtles.
The training, attended by local volunteers, Gidarjil Rangers and staff from Gladstone’s two Turtle Rehabilitation Facilities was hosted by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS).
Participants spent the morning learning about the QPWS marine animal strandings program, turtle biology, current populations and the importance of data collection.
In the afternoon, volunteers got hands-on when they visited the Gladstone Area Water Board’s Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, where they learnt about turtle identification methods, measuring and handling the animals.
Over the past eight years, QPWS has established an extensive network of volunteers that assist by responding directly to reports of stranded marine turtles in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Last week’s training will increase community capacity to respond to marine turtle strandings and significantly improve the quality of data captured.
Gladstone Area Water Board (GAWB) Hatchery and Fishery Manager, Thomas Hayes, said the training was a great way for locals working in the marine animal rescue space to get together and increase their skills through shared learning.
“It also helps foster citizen science and community participation in conservation management activities,” Mr Hayes said.
Mr Hayes said over the past five years, the GAWB Turtle Rehabilitation Centre had rehabilitated over 50 turtles, ranging in size from a few grams to 217kg.
In conjunction with the Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC), GAWB operates a Turtle Rehabilitation Centre at its Fish Hatchery on Lord Street where this training was facilitated.
If you find an injured marine animal call the RSPCA’s 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625) hotline to report.