'Heartbreaking' turtle discovery shocks coast community
KRYSTAL Richter's first encounter with a green sea turtle was one she won't forget - for all the wrong reasons.
The Yeppoon woman was strolling along Lammermoor Beach with her son yesterday afternoon when she spotted a young turtle stranded on the sand.
On closer inspection, Ms Richter realised the young turtle was dead with fishing line wrapped around its neck and flippers.
"For that to be the way I experienced seeing one for the first time was so devastating. It was such a beautiful creature, with so much life ahead of it," she said.
Although this turtle couldn't be saved, manager of Quoin Island Turtle Retreat, Richard Gilmour said injured turtles are rescued from the Capricorn Coast often.
"(QITRC) receive calls for sick and injured turtles at various times throughout the year," he said.
"More predominantly it is during the winter months when the sea temperature is cooler and turtles are more prone to illnesses."
The Gladstone-based turtle rehabilitation centre rescues injured and sick turtles from around Central Queensland before releasing them back into the ocean. Mr Gilmour said turtles are mainly injured in boat strikes but fishing lines can foul the unsuspecting creatures.
Ms Richter often walks the Capricorn Coast beaches picking up piles of rubbish and said it's heartbreaking to see such a loss.
"Knowing that it would have struggled with its flipper and neck both entwined in the fishing line, likely tightening the line around its neck every time it tried to struggle or swim was just heartbreaking," she said.
"It deserved so much better and died so needlessly and senselessly."
Mr Gilmour said in order to give turtles a chance, boaties need to be aware and read the water.
"More importantly, avoid running over them. Be mindful of our environment (not only the ocean) but everywhere," he said.
"Put your rubbish in the bin or keep it on the boat till you return to the mainland and dispose of thoughtfully."
Spotted an ill or injured turtle? Quoin Island Turtle Retreat is on call seven days a week.
Please call 0408 431 304 if you see a sick or injured turtle.