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We are proud of our sponsorship of Lou, a young injured Olive Ridley sea turtle whose health is being restored by the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on Fitzroy Island, one of the iconic stops on our Great Barrier Reef itineraries.
Funding has been made possible by revenues generated from Queensland’s deposit refund scheme, made possible by recycling cans and bottled from all vessels in the company’s fleet, in addition to donations from past guests while travelling on the Great Barrier Reef itinerary.
Found entangled in discarded fishing net, adult male Olive Ridley turtle Lou was found washed ashore in Cape York with his front flipper missing and back flipper severely damaged. Lucky for Lou being a male turtle he has a long tail and has worked out to use his tail as the extra back rudder. Lou will be returned to Cape York where he was found and will have a state-of-the-art satellite tracker sponsored by Coral Expeditions attached to his shell.
Marine wildlife spend most of their life underwater and opportunities to observe them at the surface or on land are limited. Tagging and tracking work provides invaluable insights into their movements, behaviour and habitat use, data that can be used to guide management and other conservation practices. Understanding where, when, and why animals move also helps researchers assess population trends, identify key habitats and, ultimately, improve outcomes for highly mobile and/or migratory species.
Commercial Director Jeff Gillies believes this is a unique and meaningful way to contribute to the health of the seas which the company has explored for over thirty years. “The opportunity arose to support the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, which is run by dedicated volunteers to rescue turtles affected by things such as fishing nets and boat propellers. We feel it was a strong alignment with a mission that we and our Xplorer community is passionate about. Sponsoring Lou is another way for us to care about the community in which we operate. Our brand is represented by a sea turtle and the Rehabilitation Centre is a pivotal stop on our expeditions to the Great Barrier Reef.”
Citizen science is seeing a growth in popularity, due to the way it enhances the engagement of ordinary people with scientific research and conservation efforts, while assisting researchers and practitioners who want to amplify the impact of learning and science on society.
Lou is currently being cared for at the Rehabilitation Centre in Fitzroy Island before he is released back into the wild with a tracking device that will allow the Rehabilitation Centre and Coral Expeditions guests to monitor his movements. Tracking Lou’s movements once he has been released into the wild will also help with research into her behaviour and migratory patterns. Data will be shared with local research teams who can work to ensure that future populations of turtles on the Great Barrier Reef thrive for generations to come.
“The most common turtles we see through the Centre are the Green turtle and Hawksbill turtle; these turtles can stay in the center anywhere between 6 to 24 months until they are healthy enough to be released”, says Jennie Gilbert, co-founder of the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. Green turtles can live up to 60-70 years, so their time spent at the Centre gives them a new lease on life.