KOTA KINABALU: A rescued female juvenile green sea turtle previously diagnosed with floater syndrome was released back into the sea by Sabah Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit.
The turtle, nicknamed Klowyi, was seen floating and unable to dive at Kudat waters a month ago.
A Kudat Turtle Conservation Society member took it and alerted the rescue unit.
During its rehabilitation, Klowyi was placed at the Clownfish Discovery Centre of Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort (STAR) Marina here where the unit's veterinarians and rangers nursed it back to health until it was able to be released on Wednesday (May 12) morning near Sapi Island waters.
State department assistant director Dr Sen Nathan said Klowyi suffered from a serious condition caused by excess accumulation of gas in the body, making it unable to dive for food or protection.
“This condition may be due to ingestion of plastics that causes an obstruction and accumulation of gas in the coelomic cavity, bacterial or viral infections of the intestines, or even the lungs.
“It could have starved to death and was at greater risk of being hit by a boat as it was unable to dive, ” Sen said in a joint statement with STAR.
Separately, state department director Augustine Tuuga said if not for the professionalism and hard work of veterinarians and rangers of the rescue unit, Klowyi would probably not have survived.
“Now it has completely healed and can be released back into the sea, ” he said, while thanking the STAR team and its general manager Timothy Sainsbury for their hospitality during the care of the sick turtle.
Augustine expressed hope that both the department and STAR would continue collaborating on conservation efforts, focusing on marine wildlife in Sabah.
Witnessing the release of the turtle back to the sea, Sainsbury expressed delight that the resort was able to play a part in the rescue unit's month-long rehabilitation of the turtle.
He said the resort has been running a marine conservation programme for seven years under Sanctuary – Shangri-La’s Care for Nature Programme which assists in the preservation and protection of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and species such as the clownfish.