KOTA KINABALU: A Green Sea Turtle named Gaya who was found clinging on to life almost four months ago here has been released back into the sea in the pink of health.
Thanks to a team of marine biologists at the Gaya Island Resort, the turtle was released from Malahom Bay on Gaya Island, which is a 10-minute boat ride from the city here.
Resident biologist Scott Mayback said that the release was "truly significant" as it was the 28th rescued sea turtle to be successfully released back into the sea.
He said that Gaya was rescued by fishermen near the Gaya Island Resort on June 7 this year.
He said they carried out a thorough examination of the turtle, which was suffering from malnutrition, severe dehydration and chronic debilitation.
"Our team immediately started Gaya's treatment plan which included a series of antibiotics and saline drips over a period of 30 days, together with multivitamins and a dietary programme.
"There was a major improvement in Gaya's digestive tract and its appetite slowly improved over time, with a steady increase in body mass from 4.4kg to 5kg after one month," he said.
When Gaya reached its ideal weight of 7kg after almost four months' rehabilitation, the team decided it was fit enough to be released back into the ocean.
Gaya Island Resort has been actively involved in rehabilitating turtles as well as carrying out efforts to protect the natural environment and local wildlife.
Mayback and the resort's conservation director Justin Juhun have been involved in several eco-friendly initiatives, ranging from conservation through education to rescue programmes.
Injured and ailing turtles from around Sabah are sent to the marine centre to be rehabilitated and before they are returned to the wild.