Image: © SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium

SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Start Sea Week with Turtle Release


The Animal Facts Editorial Team


March 7, 2023 5:30 pm


SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s, Auckland, New Zealand

SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium have begun Sea Week with the release of a green sea turtle brining to a close an 11 month rehabilitation journey for the endangered turtle.

Affectionately named Smee by rescuers after the best friend of Captain Hook the turtle was rescued from  the Ōmokoroa region in April 2022 after being accidentally hooked by fishermen. Auckland Zoo initially triaged the turtle and found a second hook had been ingested. A careful operation removed both hooks and Smee was then admitted to SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. 

During her recovery at the aquarium Smee has grown from 11.5kgs to 19kgs.

“It’s always very special to watch a turtle swim off into the distance after undergoing the rehabilitation process. Most of the turtles we see in our Turtle Rehabilitation Centre have been affected by human impacts of some kind, such as boat strikes, fishing hooks, plastic ingestion or habitat destruction. Our aim is to encourage the public to be mindful of the impact they are having on marine life,” said Andrew Christie from SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s.

SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s have a number of sea turtles currently in care which they expect to release in the coming weeks. Sea turtle rescues are a collaborative effort in New Zealand between a group known as team turtle made up of SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s, Department of Conservation, Auckland Zoo and iwi. 

If you find a sea turtle requiring assistance in New Zealand call the DOC emergency hotline on 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).

Sea Week is celebrated in Australia and New Zealand to promote a connection with the sea and ocean literacy.

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The diet of a green sea turtle will change throughout its life. While the juveniles feed on jellyfish, crabs and sponges the adults are almost entirely herbivorous feeding on sea grasses, algae and leaves.

Image: © SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium

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