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New home for rescued turtles at Kelly Tarlton’s

© Copyright 2017
NZME. Publishing Limited
Rescued turtles at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium will be getting a new home built just for them.

The new turtle zone at the former Stingray Bay will be called Turtle Bay, and it will give visitors a better chance to view these animals up close.

General Manager Dan Henderson said turtles brought to the aquarium will continue to start their rehabilitation back of house, and will be taken to the enclosure once they are out of the critical care stage.

« Previously they would move into the main oceanarium area, » Henderson.

« But we would now be moving them into the new display which is designed specifically for them. So the temperature will be set at a level that will aid them in their release. »

There are currently five rescued turtles being cared for at Kelly Tarlton’s, which will hopefully be well enough to be released back into the wild over the coming years.

The new zone will also feature Turtle Rescue, the country’s first interactive rehabilitation experience where visitors can become « turtle care experts » embarking on a journey to understand what is involved in successfully rehabilitating a turtle.

The rescue team has had over 20 years of experience in rescuing and rehabilitating a range of endangered and near extinct sea turtles in New Zealand.

The new zone will be officially opened on Dec 11.

« It’s been a long process for us…we’ve installed new lightings which will create the right lighting for the animals, we’ve raised the temperature and also added more theming which is going to be more appropriate and make it more comfortable for the turtles, » Henderson added.

« The turtles will be in the display and people can view them there, and there will be an interactive element which complements the turtles display. »

Turtle Bay has been created specifically for aiding the current turtles in their rehabilitation journey.

A loggerhead turtle, estimated to be between one and two years in age, is the newest addition to the rescued turtle family.

Curator Andrew Christie described the animal as an « amazing little guy ».

« The turtle was brought down to us from Ninety Mile Beach, we worked with the Department of Conversation and brought him down here, » Christie said.

« He’s been with us for several months now, progress has been going really, really well. We’re actually stoked to have him progress as well as he has because it’s been touch and go for a very long time now. »

The team that looks after the turtles is called the Turtle Rescue Team and also includes the Auckland Zoo and Department of Conservation.

When turtles are brought in, they are x-rayed, have their blood samples taken and stabilised at Auckland Zoo before being taken to Kelly Tarlton’s.

Here they are observed daily, and once they are stable enough they are then kept in a large quarantine tank and fed.

They will be moved to Turtle Bay once they are well enough, and will stay there until fit for release in the wild.