From little things, big things grow: ‘Bubble’ turtle set for release

Bubble the turtle weighed just 16 grams when he first arrived at CDU
Bubble the turtle weighed just 16 grams when he first arrived at CDU but has now grown to weigh nearly two kilograms

A critically endangered Hawksbill turtle, who was found weighing just 16 grams, has been nursed back to health at Charles Darwin University’s Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and is set to be released back into the wild near Gove today.

Affectionately known as “Bubble”, the juvenile turtle was just five centimetres long when he was discovered severely dehydrated off the coast of East Arnhem Land in March last year.

After being taken to East Arnhem Veterinary Services, a decision was made to send Bubble to the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre to be cared for.

CDU Maritime and Seafood Training VET senior technical officer Kathy Kellam said Bubble was now strong and healthy after spending 18 months at the centre.

“Bubble has done extremely well since coming to us,” she said. He now weighs almost two kilograms and is more than 30 cm long.

She said Hawksbill turtles were classified as critically endangered so rehabilitating Bubble would assist with the survival of the species.

“While in care at the CDU Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, we have also been able to educate students and visitors on the pressures turtles face and ways people can assist with conservation efforts, such as reducing the use of plastics and supporting the protection of habitat from costal development and climate change,” Ms Kellam said.

Bubble was flown to Gove yesterday morning in a small insulated container and will be released with the assistance of East Arnhem Veterinary Services and Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation rangers.

“The release back into the community will help Hawksbill populations by raising awareness among local communities and improving conservation strategies,” Ms Kellam said.

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