A sea turtle is now undergoing rehabilitation after being rescued by Auckland Zoo staff when it got stranded at a Northland beach.
Dehydrated and exhausted, the ailing turtle was rescued after washing up on 90 Mile Beach earlier this month.
Sea turtles spend their lives at sea, only coming ashore to breed, so Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium curator Andrew Christie says there would have been something "severely wrong" for it to end up stranded.
"For a turtle to strand, [it means] they're not a very healthy turtle," he says.
When a turtle is that weak they're at a serious risk of infections, especially in the lungs. Thankfully for this turtle its test results came back clean, showing although it was seriously dehydrated and chilled, it would not have to battle an infection on top of everything else.
"On its own it wouldn't get through," An Pas, a senior vet at the Auckland Zoo says, "It's very hard often in the turtles to say if they're going to make it or not. For this one, it still has quite a bit of strength in it … so we're hopeful this one is going to make it."
With the zoo's attentive care the sea turtle recovered quickly, ready to be transferred to Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium for rehabilitation after only a week.
Now that its medical care is over, the focus at Kelly Tarlton's will be on bringing the turtle's weight back up to a healthy level and preparing it for its return to the wild after its close call.
"It's really rewarding working with wildlife like this," Melanie Leech, a vet at Auckland Zoo says. "It's really nice to see them get better, and it'll hopefully be even better when we get to that point that we can release her."