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22 Jul 2020 11:47:38
Plugga the 30-year-old female turtle finds a new home in the Day and Night on the Reef zone at the Darling Harbour attraction
Shine your shells fellas, there’s a new girl in the tank! Excitement has rippled through the air and the water here at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, where staff and underwater life gathered to warmly welcome the attraction’s newest tank-mate, a 120kg rescue Australian Green Sea Turtle called Plugga.
The beautiful 75cm-long endangered turtle swam into the Day and Night on the Reef Zone, inspired by the Great Barrier Reef, after a 534km, six-hour journey from Coffs Harbour with our team of attentive aquarists.
In her large new tank, she will settle in with three other turtles that call the aquarium home – Dave and Chong the Loggerhead Turtles and Myrtle, a fellow Green Sea Turtle.
“The transfer was a complete success” said Robbie McCracken, our Assistant Curator.
“Plugga was calm throughout her travels and regular checks were conducted on her throughout the journey to ensure a healthy transfer. She’s already mingling with her new mates and making new friends. I think she’s already quite happy here.”
Plugga was rescued in 1990 when she was found washed up on the beach with much of her right-rear flipper missing. Young, injured and as small as a 50-cent coin, she was deemed unable to be released and was kept in care at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park where she learned to swim with her handicap.
“Visiting Plugga is an excellent way for guests to get up close and see what an adult Green Sea Turtle looks like, and she is a great ambassador for the species whereby guests on-site can learn about the challenges sea turtles face in the ocean and the little changes we can all make to help sure up their future,” McCracken added.
Australian Green Sea Turtles are classified as endangered by the IUCN due to overharvesting of their eggs, hunting of adults, plastic pollution, loss of nesting beach sites and being caught in fishing gear. Climate change is also a huge problem as they have temperature dependant sex determination, posing a serious risk to populations.
They can live up to 80 years and have the potential to grow up to 1.5 metres long and weigh up to 300kg – Plugga certainly has a fair bit of growing to do and she will do it under the careful watch of our aquarists.
Dive in today and see how Plugga is adapting in her new home. We are open Thursday through Monday outside of school holidays and have the COVID Safe seal of approval.