Australian Seabird Rescue turtle release

Turtle trio turned loose in the ocean after months in care

A FLIP of the fins and three turtles were out of sight.

Back to the ocean, healthy and rehabilitated.

All three have spent the last few months in intensive Australian Seabird Rescue care, having been found close to death in Ballina and Byron Bay in December.

Nine-year-old Dana Cant and brother Sam, 10, found Holly the green sea turtle near the Richmond River in Ballina two days before Christmas.

"We went to granddad's house and they have a river out the back and we saw the turtle," Dana said.

Holly's shell was 95% covered in green algae and barnacles and she also tested positive for coccidiosis - a serious bacterial infection.

After months of recovery, Dana and Sam watched Holly's release at Flat Rock - the turtle now weighing a healthy 10.2kg.

Ginger the green sea turtle was found stranded at Tallows Beach in Byron Bay, on December 15, covered in barnacles and suffering from float syndrome - a condition caused by ingesting plastics that makes turtles float and eventually starve to death.

After 12 days of medication and specialist care, Ginger started eating and weighed a healthy 10.1kg on release.

Donny was in care for the longest after he was found stranded at Belongil Beach, Byron Bay, on December 7.

When he was rescued he was covered in barnacles, had a flesh wound to his neck and was barely moving.

After a stint in the intensive care tank and a course of antibiotics to treat his coccidia, Donny ate for the first time on Christmas Eve.

For the last month he has been eating close to a kilo of squid each day and weighed 10.2kg on release.

Australian Seabird Rescue general manager Kath Southwell said beachgoers should keep an eye out for turtle nestlings which are currently hatching.

"If anyone finds a hatchling they should call Seabird Rescue," she said. "If they haven't been able to make it to the beach, something's wrong."

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