Rescue too late for giant loggerhead turtle
DESPITE the best efforts of lifesavers and Australia Zoo Animal Hospital staff, a giant loggerhead turtle has died after being found floundering off Coolum on the weekend.
The 130kg giant male, estimated to be 80 years old, was helped to shore by Coolum lifesavers on Saturday morning.
It was transported to Australia Zoo Animal Hospital where it was found to be emaciated and weak from a heavy parasite infection, and was put down.
The turtle had a one-metre long shell and was estimated to be 1.2 metres from head to tail. It was covered in a thick layer of barnacles.
It was spotted out the back of the breakers at Coolum Beach and residents reported that it had been floating there for several days.
Four lifesavers were needed to carry the turtle up the beach, where it was tended to and kept wet.
Coolum club captain Michael "Fred" Stokes described the turtle as a sight to behold.
"He was big," Mr Stokes said.
"He was lifted into the club ute and brought to the top of the beach.
"I've seen some big turtles, up at North West Island. He would have been 1.2m long.
"He wasn't very well.
"Once we got him in the ute, we kept him wet, put a towel on him and poured water over him."