Photo credit: Reef HQ
After the distressing topic of my last post, I wanted to write about something more cheerful this week, so I have chosen the magical turtle hospital in Townsville, Australia.
The Reef hospital is part of Reef HQ Aquarium in Townsville, Queensland which is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. In recent years, James Cook University’s School of Veterinary and Biomedical Science has become a supporting partner of the hospital.
The hospital specialises in the treatment of ill and injured marine turtles and, according to the website, “operates under and promotes the C.A.R.E. philosophy”; Conserve, Act, Rehabilitate, Educate.
Marine Turtles are slow-growing and should live very long lives. However due to many threats this is not always the case. Threats include:
- Fishing nets
- Boat strikes
- Plastic bags
Plastics bags particularly threaten these animals because they mistake them for food and usually end up being suffocated. Luckily, the Reef Hospital offers first class medical care for these beautiful creatures and educates the public in an effort to reduce threats to the turtles.
The hospital has had the privilege of caring for a rare hybrid turtle, a hawksbill green sea cross turtle nicknamed ‘Summer’, the first hybrid in Australian waters. The medical facility also cares for turtles suffering from turtle herpes, which causes fibropapillomatosis.
That’s it for this week, a short summary of the amazing work of the Reef Hospital at Reef HQ Aquarium, Townsville.