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Mysterious shell disease

Following the devastating floods in Queensland, the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital was receiving green sea turtles found with ulcerated open wounds on their shells and flippers, often leading to the exposure of the underlying bone.

The veterinary team suspects that this is linked to diminishing sea grass availability, and due to low food supply, turtles are consuming a food source which normally contributes to a small part of their diet. In turn, this also causes severe gastrointestinal issues in green sea turtles. Dr. Ludo Valenza, Hospital Supervisor and Veterinarian, said, “Since November 2021, we have received 76 green sea turtles affected by the disease, and the investigation into the cause of this disease is still underway.” Most turtles currently in care are suffering from the soft-shell syndrome, and it can take months for the affected turtles to heal.

Every two to three years, a female turtle will breed and lay, potentially, hundreds of eggs. With only one in 1,000 turtles surviving to maturity, each nest is critical in the survival of this endangered species. As one of the busiest sea turtle facilities in Australia, the Wildlife Hospital in Beerwah is continually providing the most specialised treatment and care to these animals to give them their greatest chance of survival. The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, treating sick, injured and orphaned wildlife every day of the year. To find out more about Wildlife Warriors please visit



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