5 February, 2021
Even Turtles go into rehab
THE exciting, new Cairns Turtle Education and Rehabilitation Centre at the Cairns Aquarium is now open, offering behind the scenes tours for visitors and a triage centre for the region’s turtle population.
The space for the $300,000 centre, which was completed in December, was donated to the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (CTRC) by the Cairns Aquarium and constructed with State and Federal Government funding.
Centre co-founder Jennie Gilbert said the new centre greatly increases the organisation’s capacity to care for the creatures which are in danger of extinction.
“We’ve got one big tank which we can actually put rehab turtles in there too if we’ve got no room at Fitzroy so we’ve got one big tank for rehab and then we’ve got three other tanks and that’s for the triage,” Ms Gilbert said.
The 150 million-year-old species faces increasing threats including entanglement in fishing line, marine debris, chemicals in the ocean causing compromised immune systems and being hit by boats.
The new centre links in with CTRC’s Fitzroy Island and James Cook University facilities offering three dedicated levels of care for rescued animals.
“When they get rescued from strandings they immediately go to Marlin Vet Hospital to be assessed, and then if they need daily treatment they will go to James Cook University,” Ms Gilbert said.
“Then if they don’t need daily treatment and they can be triaged they go to the Aquarium and then when they are in their final stage (before release) they go to Fitzroy Island.”
Ms Gilbert said the most exciting part of the new facility was the state of the art education centre which allows visitors to get up close and personal with the creatures.
“I think the best part about the aquarium is that it’s an education centre as well,” Ms Gilbert said.
“Groups can come in and they can actually go and have an educational talk and then they can read the posters and they can go and see a turtle.”
To find out more or book a behind the scenes tour contact Cairns Aquarium.