An unwell green sea turtle that took shelter in the new marina at Shell Cove has been rescued and taken to a wildlife hospital.
Shellharbour City Council senior coastal officer Leslie Reid had seen posts about the turtle on social media over the past couple of weeks and, with a background in caring for turtles, she knew it was ill.
Then on Friday Ashton Sweet, the maintenance officer for the marina, contacted Ms Reid and said he had eyes on the turtle.
So she, along with the marina operator Les Binkin, jumped in a boat on Friday and went out to rescue the animal.
Ms Reid said the turtle appeared to be female and had not yet reached sexual maturity, which occurred when they were about 30 to 50 years old.
The turtle was suffering lesions on her flippers, was malnourished, had algae all over her shell, and was not able to swim down, which Ms Reid said was likely because she had suffered an impacted gut, probably after eating something she shouldn't have.
Ms Reid said the turtle had sought refuge in the marina because, being ill, she would not have wanted to be out in the open ocean.
After the turtle was retrieved, the Australian Seabird and Turtle Rescue was contacted but it was going to take a little time for someone to come out.
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Wanting to get the turtle into care as soon as possible, Ms Reid drove the animal - which she nicknamed Miss Shelly Sweet, in honour of Mr Sweet - to the Taronga Zoo Wildlife Hospital herself.
"We want to make sure she can get back into the wild and contribute to repopulating green sea turtles," she said.
Ms Reid hopes to get an update on the turtle on Monday.
Miss Sweet is not the only turtle to be spotted in the marina and grey nurse sharks - a critically endangered species - have also been seen on several occasions.
Seals and dolphins have also made appearances.
Sadly, however, a dead shark washed up near the children's beach last month.
Ms Reid said everyone had a responsibility to look after wildlife by doing such things as ensuring rubbish went in the bin and taking good care of lines when out fishing.
"While we start to see an influx of this wildlife... it's really important that we're doing everything we can on a personal level to take care of our wildlife," she said.
Anyone who finds injured or sick marine life should contact the Australian Seabird and Turtle Rescue on 0431 282 238, ORCCA (for whales, dolphins and seals) on 9415 3333, or WIRES on 1300 094 737.
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