KOTA KINABALU: A rescued greenback turtle named Gaya made its way back to the open sea after being nursed back to health from the brink of death.
Thanks to the care of a team of marine biologists at the Gaya Island Resort, the turtle was released from Malahom Bay at Gaya Island, a ten-minute boat ride from the city here yesterday.
The Marine Centre’s 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 over the years.
He said that the Green Turtle species was rescued by fishermen close to 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 track, and its appetite slowly improved over time, with a steady increase in its body mass from 4.4kg to 5kg after one month of care,” he said.
Gaya was deemed fit for release back into the ocean after approximately four months of rehabilitation and reaching its ideal weight of 7kg.
Gaya Island Resort has been actively involved in turtle rehabilitation as well as efforts to protect the natural environment and local wildlife.
The resorts conservation directors Justin Juhun and Mayback have been involved in several eco-friendly initiatives ranging from conservation through education to rescue programmes through the Marine Centre and Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre.
Injured and sick turtles from many parts of Sabah are sent to the centre to be rehabilitated and returned to the wild.