A Department of Conservation (DOC) ranger has rescued an endangered olive ridley turtle from a south Auckland beach.
The stranded turtle was found on Kariotahi Beach on the Awhitu Peninsula near Waiuku this morning by a local resident while she was horse riding.
She found the turtle floating in the water and called DOC. It was collected from the beach by DOC Marine Ranger Martin Stanley.
Marine turtle rescued after a report from the public
“She thought it was dead but it responded to a stimulus test so we picked it up and transported the live turtle to Kelly Tarleton’s aquarium in Auckland,” says 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.
Marine scientist Dan Godoy says the turtle has goose barnacles on its shell which indicates it has been floating for sometime and has been unable to dive for food.
“That’s usually due to an illness that could be caused by the ingestion of marine debris such as plastic,” says Dan Godoy.
Rescued turtle at Kelly Tarleton's aquarium
He 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,” says Dan Godoy.
Dan, who is based at Massey University’s Albany campus is doing PhD research on green turtles in New Zealand waters.
Members of the public who see a stranded marine turtle should call DOC’s 24 hour number 0800 DOC HOT line (0800 362 468).