Harrowing discovery in Queensland mangroves exposes threat facing endangered species

The endangered sea turtle was struggling to keep her head above water when rescuers arrived.

Vision released on Monday morning shows the harrowing moment an endangered turtle was saved from what’s been described by authorities as a “near-fatal entanglement”.

The incident highlights the deadly threat posed to Australia’s marine creatures by derelict fishing gear that’s been left in the water to decay.

In video supplied by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) a green sea turtle can be seen caught around its neck and left flipper just near Lamb Island, south of Brisbane.

Left - two first responders hauling the turtle out of the water. Right - close up of hands on the drowning turtle.
An endangered green sea turtle was rescued by rangers. Source: QPWS

Ranger Georgie Sneesby and a colleague had been conducting a patrol further north in Moreton Bay when they received a call from a concerned member of the public.

“When we arrived on scene, we found an adult green sea turtle struggling to keep its head above water, and rope from the crab pot was tightly wrapped around its neck and both front flippers,” she said.

“While attempting to cut the main line to the crab pot, we realised the pot was stuck in the muddy sea floor.”

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Growing impact of fishing gear on Aussie wildlife

Because the turtle appeared uninjured, she was immediately released back into the wild. But her situation is an all too common occurrence. You can read about other mishaps below:

It’s not just sea turtles that are impacted by discarded fishing gear. QPWS said it has recently rescued a young dugong and wobbegong sharks.

“Fishers need to ensure they use their crab pots responsibly, check their pots regularly whilst they are being used and remove them from the water when not being used, instead of being discarded,” Ranger Sneesby said.

If you spot an illegal or abandoned crab pot in Queensland you can contact the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116. For marine animals stranded or in distress the best number is 1300 130 372.

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