A FEMALE turtle named Minderoo is recovering at the Ningaloo Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre after being found in the Port of Port Hedland.

The green sea turtle was spotted by one of the port’s pilot boats and was unable to dive.

Pilbara Ports Authority’s environment team retrieved the turtle from the water and took her to the South Hedland Vet Hospital.

To enable Minderoo to receive specialist care, a decision was made to transfer her to the Exmouth Vet Clinic, which also provides care for animals at the Ningaloo Sea Turtle and Rehabilitation Centre.

Minderoo had numerous barnacles on her shell. Image: Pilbara Ports Authority

After a call-out on social media for a turtle ambulance, a member of the public volunteered to drive Minderoo to Karratha. Following that, an Exmouth-based freight company transported the sick turtle from Dampier to Exmouth, a total of 780km.

“It was a great team effort. Everyone worked together to make sure the turtle got medical attention quickly to give her the best chance of survival,” Nicole Bale, sustainability coordinator at Pilbara Ports Authority, said.


Dr Jane Giliam, Exmouth Veterinary Surgeon and Ningaloo Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre founder, said Minderoo was responding well to treatment despite having lost a third of her body weight.

“There are usually a couple of reasons for turtles floating. Either they’ve ingested plastic or have internal parasites, which can lead to bacterial infections,” Dr Giliam said

“If you see a floating turtle, please take it to a vet immediately, because if a turtle can’t dive it can’t eat sea grass and will starve.”

Green Sea Turtles can live up to 80 years in the wild and are listed as an endangered species.