Wayward hawksbill turtle 1500km off course to be returned to North West
By Katie Robertson
A hawksbill turtle has been found on WA's south coast - more than 1500km from its usual habitat in northern WA waters.
The juvenile turtle, described by wildlife officers as underweight and lethargic, made the lone trek from the waters of the Pilbara to WA's south-coast, where it was found last month.
The turtle was taken to Albany and was then flown to Perth free of charge by Skywest Airlines.
Department of Environment and Conservation officers took it to Perth Zoo to be assessed by vets.
The turtle, measuring 48cm long and 35cm wide, is now actively feeding again and maintaining weight.
It also appears to have recovered from its exhaustion.
The turtle, which has been micro-chipped, will now be taken to Karratha, where it will be released into the Dampier Archipelago.
Hawksbill turtles are listed as threatened species.
DEC marine researcher Holly Raudino said hawksbill turtles predominantly nested in the Pilbara with a major rookery at Rosemary Island.
"Although little is known as to where they spend their juvenile years, we think they feed mostly on sponges," Dr Raudino said.