Turtle due to be released in Kermadecs

  • 22/10/2016
Koha was nursed back to health at Kelly Tarlton's aquarium (Nava Fedaeff/NIWA)
Koha was nursed back to health at Kelly Tarlton's aquarium (Nava Fedaeff/NIWA)

Koha the turtle is due to be returned to the wild.

The release of the rescued hawksbill sea turtle from the NIWA research ship Tangaroa near Raoul Island in the Kermadec Islands is due to live-streamed on Saturday morning.

Koha was found weak and emaciated near Dargaville more than two years ago and has been nursed back to health at Kelly Tarlton's aquarium in Auckland.

The turtle "hitched a ride" home on the New Zealand research vessel, which left Auckland on Thursday for a 20-day scientific expedition in the area, about 1000km northeast of New Zealand.

NIWA released a video on Friday showing Koha hydrating in a tub of water on the vessel.

The name Koha was chosen to represent a gift being returned to the turtle's home in the Pacific Ocean.

Niwa tweeted on Friday "lovely weather and flat seas. Here is hoping it stays this way for #Kohatheturtle's release!"

Watch Koha's release live on NIWA's Facebook page.

NZN