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Facebook Logo Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre

Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre was founded in 2000 by Paul Barnes and Jennie Gilbert. While they were working at The Undersea World Aquarium, a turtle was brought in with ‘floaters syndrome’ and this was the start of the CTRC. Whilst rehabilitating this turtle, the aquarium was closed.

Left with a large green turtle with no home, land was donated on the inlet to start the Cairns centre.  Over the years it has successfully rehabilitated and released countless turtles.

Currently there are 50-60 volunteers working at the centre.

Ben Southall - 'the man with the Best Job in the World' and Jennie release another turtle from Fitzroy Island

Jennie and Ben Southall release another turtle at Fitzroy Island.

Ben had ‘the best job in the world’

Everyday  turtles are fed, the tanks are cleaned and medication administered when required. The success rate for the rehabilitation of the turtles has gone from 30% to 85% and is now one of the highest success rates in Australia.

Turtle Release Centre on Fitzroy Island

Fitzroy Release Centre

Turtle Release Centre on Fitzroy Island run by Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre

After a succession of natural disasters, starting with cyclone Larry, floods in late 2010 and Cyclone Yasi in January 2011 the inshore seagrass beds that feed green turtles and dugongs were destroyed. These events led to an 800% increase in green turtle stranding up the east coast of Queensland. The existing turtle rehabilitation centre could not cope with the numbers. The owner of Fitzroy Island Resort, Doug Gamble stepped forward to donate a small parcel of land.

The area was previously an aquaculture prawn farm, therefore it was semi prepared to hold tanks although finding the old pipework to pump water in and out of the tanks proved quite a task!

Construction started in 2010 with many helping hands. The centre was completed in late 2012 . This centre is now a world class facility with more bigger tanks, cleaner water and an interpretive centre. The facility holds educational tours daily. It was officially opened early in 2013 with Bob Irwin, Qantas and WWF.

About our Turtles

The marine turtles are found in the Great Barrier Reef waters and Cape York Peninsula by members of the public, the relevant bodies are notified and they are brought into CTRC. Rehabilitation of a turtle is anywhere between 6 and 24 months, until they are healthy enough to be released.

Many of the turtles are brought in with an illness called ‘floaters syndrome’ which is an obstruction that occurs in the turtle’s gut causing air to become trapped between the shell and the body, impacting the animal's ability to dive down to the sea grass beds in order to eat. If these turtles are not found they end up starving to death.
The turtles brought down from Cape York suffer horrendous injuries from entanglement in discarded fishing nets. Qantas link fly the turtles down from Cape York to Cairns where they are treated and once fully recovered they are sent back to the Cape to be released.
The turtles are fed daily and their individual food bill is about $150 each week. Once the turtle has made a full recovery, a satellite tracker is attached to their shell and their movements followed after release.

Jennie and Bondi Vet - Chris Brown

Jennie and Bob Irwin

Jennie Gillbert and Bondi Vet - Chris Brown Jennie Gilbert and Bob Irwin filming a turtle release on Fitzroy Island Links to Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation centre website and Chipembele website Go to CTRC Website Go to CTRC Facebook Page

The other Charity we support is Chipembele WildLife Education Trust

Turtle release at Fitzroy
Save our Turtles with Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, Cairns, Queensland
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