Green sea turtles released from Queensland rehabilitation centre mark release of 150th animal

Eight years, hundreds of kilos of squid and thousands of volunteer hours later, a rehabilitation centre is celebrating the release of its 150th green sea turtle.

The Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, off Gladstone, takes in sick and injured turtles along the Queensland coast from Mackay to Bundaberg.

The animals are fed lots of squid, love and care until they are healthy and can be returned to the ocean.

Owner Bob McCosker has spent thousands of dollars on the animals since opening the centre more than eight years ago — and says it has all been worth it.

“We’ve got probably 100 volunteers in the region who are involved and who are dedicated, so it’s a big organisation.

“It’s not just us at the other end, on the rehab side, there’s a lot in between to make it happen.”

The release marks Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre’s 150th green sea turtle release.(ABC Capricornia: Erin Semmler)

A unique triple turtle release at Zilzie beach, on the Capricorn Coast, marked the milestone.

“Nature turns on as soon as they can smell that salt water,” Mr McCosker said.

“Their DNA takes over. They’re not looking for the pool anymore. They know what they’re doing out there.”

‘A miracle recovery’

Centre manager Kim van Oudheusden said the turtles washed up in winter, very underweight.

“They had some parasites and they were very unhealthy, so we just cleaned them up, fattened them up, and released them back to the ocean,” she said.

“It was so exciting, especially because it was three, which is quite special. That doesn’t happen very often.”

Kim van Oudheusden, holding green sea turtle, smiling, wearing sunglasses, beach, ocean and man in the background.
Manager Kim van Oudheusden is thrilled to be releasing another healthy green sea turtle.(ABC Capricornia: Erin Semmler)

Ms van Oudheusden said each turtle’s journey to recovery was different.

“One stayed with us for four months, one three months and one two months,” she said.

“The third one, he made a really speedy recovery. He was in the main pool in a week’s time eating and fattening up, and the other ones just needed a little bit more care.

“With Kahana, the second one, we thought she wouldn’t make it so we didn’t give her much of a chance.

“But she was the first one in the water so it was a miracle recovery.”

Andrew the human, releases Andrew the turtle

Andrew Kaney found one of the turtles washed up on Zilzie beach covered in barnacles, algae and leeches.

“It was actually during COVID-19 and we were working from home, and I decided to take my dog for a walk in the middle of the day to get out and get some fresh air,” he said.

“I actually walked past the turtle because it was in such a poor state. It actually looked like a rock. I didn’t take any notice of it.

“My dog hung around it and wouldn’t come, and then she’s looking at me, and I said, ‘What have you found?’

“I went back and it was the turtle. It was in a pretty poor state.”

Sea turtle covered in barnacles and green moss lying on blue towel.
Andrew the green sea turtle was found washed up on Zilzie beach lethargic and covered in barnacles.(Supplied)

He called the rehab centre’s local volunteer, Paul Mitchell, who picked up the sick turtle and drove it to Gladstone.

Mr Kaney was moved to see the turtle, named after him, return to the ocean healthy.

“It was a pretty good feeling,” he said.

A message to fishers

The centre constantly sees turtle injuries and deaths as a result of recreational fishing, with hooks, crab pots, and fishing line causing some of the worst trauma.

“Our constant cry is just be really careful with your tackle and your gear,” Mr McCosker said.

“If you know you’re going to get snagged, don’t just break your line off because that’s going to be there for the next thousand years.”

Three turtles make their way along the sand towards the ocean, little boy and woman watch on.
Andrew, Mossy and Kahana recovered well after being found sick and underweight in the Yeppoon area.(ABC Capricornia: Erin Semmler)

He hoped boaties and fishers would make a move to biodegradable fishing line.

“That’s going to be the ultimate answer because our shorelines and our oceans at the moment, our reefs, are getting just massacred with fishing tackle,” he said.

“It’s sort of overlooked because you can’t see the damage you’re leaving behind.

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Josh Searl 150th Milestone in QAFL Decider


MILESTONE games do not come much bigger than what is facing Broadbeach champion Josh Searl on Saturday afternoon.
A long-time Broadbeach stalwart – the bearded warrior has never worn any other jumper than the blue and white hoops – will be playing in only his second seniors grand final when he runs out against Morningside in the QAFL decider at Yeronga.
That makes it a very special event in itself.
But making the season finale even more memorable for the 29-year-old star is that the clash will mark Searl’s 150th seniors game for the Cats.
Searl missed the bus in 2018 when the Cats were beaten by Palm Beach Currumbin in the grand final at Yeronga.
But the chance is there for him and teammates to go one better and get premiership number three for Broadbeach after limited success for the flag-starved club for 49 years.
Two flags (in 1987 and 1996) and two grand final appearances (in 1976 and 2018) can be looked at as poor pickings for a club with one of the most buoyant junior programs in south-east Queensland.
For instance, St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt is Broadbeach’s most famous junior product.
Searl obviously never made it as high as Riewoldt but he remains one of the most popular players produced by the club after playing more than 200 junior games.
These days a half-back specialist after a long career on-ball, Searl has been at the Cattery long enough to know that a drink from a premiership cup will quench an insatiable thirst.
It will taste like liquid gold.
Yet personal glory is not on the Searl agenda. Team ethos is number one.
“We have worked pretty hard over the last few years and two grand finals in three years is a pretty good effort, just making them,” he said.
“But we have to make sure to get out there and take our opportunities this time.”
Searl said he is ‘not too worried’ about the 150-game milestone.
The team and winning that elusive third flag for the Cats are the missions for Searl, who has twice been best and fairest player at the Cats (2014-2016).

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Russian communists defy lockdown with Red Square parade for Lenin’s 150th

A view shows a monument to Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin during an unveiling ceremony on the day of the 150th anniversary of his birth, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in the town of Sayansk in Irkutsk region, Russia April 22, 2020. REUTERS/Evgeny Kozyrev

April 22, 2020

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Dozens of Russian communists defied Moscow’s coronavirus lockdown on Wednesday by marching across Red Square to lay flowers outside Vladimir Lenin’s tomb to mark 150 years since the birth of the Bolshevik leader.

Led by Gennady Zyuganov, head of Russia’s Communist Party, a small group of people, some holding red flags, marched to the granite mausoleum where Lenin’s embalmed body lies to pay their respects.

The ritual, which is observed annually on April 22, comes with Moscow in its fourth week of a lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of the new virus.

Muscovites are only allowed outside to buy food or medicine nearby, receive urgent medical treatment, walk the dog or take out the trash.

A policeman guarding Red Square, which has been closed off to the public and was otherwise empty as it snowed on Wednesday, told Reuters the communists had received special permission to stage the event.

The Moscow police and the mayor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Speaking to reporters on Red Square, Zyuganov said the Russian authorities’ efforts to contain the virus were no match for the Soviet approach to fighting a smallpox outbreak in Moscow in 1960.

“Now they can’t even produce masks in three months,” he said, referring to the current Russian authorities.

Some Russian regions have experienced shortages of protective gear for medical workers but the country has still exported equipment to countries including the United States, Italy and Serbia.

Moscow, a city of more than 12.5 million, has been the hardest-hit of Russia’s regions by the coronavirus outbreak and on Wednesday recorded 2,548 new cases, pushing the nationwide tally to almost 58,000.

Similar events were held across the country to honour Lenin.

The initiatives, however, have drawn criticism from people who say the communist events violate lockdowns.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the outspoken head of Russia’s nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, has said the people laying flowers on Lenin’s tomb during lockdown should be arrested.

Russia abandoned communism when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, but the tomb remains a popular attraction among tourists and Russian communists.

Authorities shuttered the tomb and other attractions last month in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Lenin died of a stroke in 1924 and is said to have wanted to be buried alongside his mother in St. Petersburg. Attempts over the years to have his body transferred there have been thwarted by warnings that such a move could split society.

(Reporting by Dmitry Madorsky and Shamil Zhumatov; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Alison Williams)

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