A Hawksbill Sea Turtle who has been nursed back to health over a period of two years at Kelly Tarlton's is set to be released from New Zealand's offshore Kermadec Islands this week, departing from Auckland this morning.
The juvenile Hawksbill, named 'Koha' by Ngati Kuri iwi, meaning a gift going home to the ocean guardian Kiwa, was found stranded at Glink's Gully near Dargaville in September 2014, in a severely lethargic and emaciated state. Their journey back to health included being flown to Auckland for initial assessment at Auckland Zoo's Centre for Conservation Medicine before two years of care at Kelly Tarlton's, with the support of the SEA LIFE Trust.
Kelly Tarlton's provides New Zealand's only centre for Sea Turtle rehabilitation, and our team have been treating turtles and releasing them back into the wild for over 20 years.
The journey to release in the Kermadec Islands has been made possible through an exciting partnership between a number of New Zealand organisations. The voyage to the Kermadec region - a 20 day scientific research expedition - is a collaborative expedition between NIWA, Auckland Museum, Kelly Tarlton's, the Department of Conservation, Auckland and Massey Universities and Te Papa. As Hawksbill Sea Turtles prefer warmer waters far north of New Zealand, this rare opportunity to release Koha in the Kermadec Islands is really exciting.
Keep your eyes peeled for further updates about Koha's release in the Kermadecs through our facebook page over the next few days!