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Pacific green sea turtle dies after being rescued

Wednesday 23 March 2022 | Written by Sian Solomon | Published in Local, National

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Pacific green sea turtle dies after being rescued
A pacific green sea turtle was discovered along Muri Beach on Monday. Photo: TE ARE MANU/22032221

A pacific green sea turtle believed to originate from the Outer Islands has died despite efforts from Discover Marine and Wildlife Eco-Centre staff.

The turtle was discovered along Muri Beach on Monday in bad shape after washing ashore.

It’s understood that on the advice of the Ministry of Marine Resources it was taken to the Te Are Manu Veterinary clinic shortly after being discovered by a local resident for examination.

There the endangered species was x-rayed and checked for obvious wounds and injuries, including items lodged in the mouth and throat, of which none were found. 

Soon afterward, it was taken to the Discover Marine and Wildlife Eco-Centre in Arorangi where it was left to recuperate.

However, a spokesperson for the Discover Marine and Wildlife Eco-Centre confirmed on Tuesday that the pacific green sea turtle “passed away” after showing signs of improvement.

It’s suspected that the turtle, who had been recovering for almost two days, had swum ashore because of illness or possibly having something lodged in its throat.

“He wasn’t looking good last time I saw him,” says Discover Marine and Wildlife Eco-Centre owner Stephenie Jansen.

“When they come up on the beach like that they are pretty sick.

“(And) unless they have got an illness that will pass, it’s very hard to get them to recover or pass it.”

Jansen shares that on Monday she and Ariki Adventures managing director Jules Tamaariki were called to collect the turtle from the Te Are Manu Veterinary clinic to help with its recovery.

From there she took the animal to the Discover Marine and Wildlife Eco-Centre where she had prepared a sea-water tank along with fishbone broth to help nurture the animal and bring it back to full health.

However, that following afternoon, the turtle had passed away after showing positive signs of life earlier that day.

“I didn’t think he would last the night,” she says.

“But (in the morning) he was really feisty with his food which was good, so I thought maybe he would make it and be okay.

“But now we have to get him to Te Are Manu for a necropsy, and will find out what was actually wrong with him.”

Cook Islands News reached out to Ariki Adventures managing director Jules Tamaariki and the Ministry of Marine Resources about the turtle and its condition but received no response.

It’s understood that the cause of death is still unknown following a post-mortem examination which has been completed by the Te Are Manu Veterinary clinic.