WWF Concern at Widespread Turtle Deaths

WWF Australia officials are working with a number of experts to find out why a huge amount of sick and dead turtles have been washed ashore on the Queensland coast. A meeting on Friday 22nd July 2011 was held at Reef HQ in Townsville, with local veterinarians, turtle researchers and wildlife carers from across Australia attending to join forces to try and work out exactly why this has been happening.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Manager, Dr Mark Read, said –

We have concerns that the cumulative effects of several years of extreme weather and degradation of seagrass habitats will lead to a significant increase in marine turtle strandings on our beaches, including animals that will turn up injured or in very poor condition. Rehabilitation is an important component of an overall strategy for responding to these strandings, and the workshop will provide an excellent opportunity to share information and the latest research on turtle health, injury, and rehabilitation, and to network with other turtle specialists from around Australia.

The workshop was also the prefect meeting place for vets and biologists to discuss how best to give treatment to sick and injured turtles, and also how to cope with the potential flood of turtles that could continue to be washed up on Queensland beaches.

WWF Australia spokesperson, Cliff Cobbo, said –

We are seeing some fantastic sharing of knowledge between scientists, Traditional Owners and coastal communities as people come together to protect turtles from a growing range of threats. There has never been a more important time for this level of collaboration.

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