Rehabilitated sea turtles return to wild

Rehabilitated sea turtles return to wild

Three endangered turtles have been returned to the ocean in Northland today after more than a year of rehabilitation.

Two green sea turtles and one black sea turtle have been fitted with satellite trackers, to keep tabs on where they'll head next.

Pango, Pounamu and Koru are heading back to the ocean and they can consider themselves very lucky indeed.

"They came to us in a bad state of health and we have had to nurse them back for anything up to 18 months to try and get them right," says Kelly Tarlton's curator Andrew Christie.

All three have been rehabilitating at Kelly Tarlton's in Auckland for more than a year, all found along New Zealand's coastline.

"They are normally in a very poor state [when found]," Kelly Tarlton's general manager Phil McGowen says. "Many are emaciated. They haven't fed for many weeks or months, are suffering from hyperthermia and they may also be suffering from bacterial infections as well."

But today at the Poor Knights off Tutukaka, the trio were getting to know the locals, and the locals were learning too.

And then it was time to say goodbye, with all three fitted with satellite trackers.

"We've had ones that have gone up to Vanuatu and ones that have hung around the Poor Knights for a few months," says Mr McGowen. "We've had others that have travelled across to Chile as well."

Staff at Kelly Tarlton's are intrigued to see just how far these three Kiwi battlers will go.