Miraculous Recovery: Turtle Shrouded in 4kg of Barnacles Rescued, Brought Back from the Brink of Death in a Heartwarming Tale

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On this World Turtle Day, we celebrate the extraordinary journey of Olivia, an endangered Loggerhead Turtle, and the inspiring partnership between Native Animal Rescue Broome, WIRES, and Woolworths. Together, the partnership has exemplified the power of collaboration and care in rehabilitating Olivia, leading to her release, and symbolising hope for turtle conservation.

When Olivia arrived at Native Animal Rescue Broome, she faced the dual challenge of being severely underweight and an encumbering 4kg of barnacles on her back. These barnacles hinted at underlying health issues and posed a threat to her wellbeing. Chris Mitchell and his team embarked on a mission to provide Olivia with the necessary care and nourishment to restore her health.

barnacle turtle

As Olivia’s rehabilitation progressed, her specialised diet became a crucial aspect of her recovery. Recognising the need for assistance, the Woolworths & WIRES Food For Wildlife Program extended a helping hand. Initially tube-fed, Olivia’s menu soon included the indulgence of hand-peeled prawns. However, the cost and demand for this gourmet diet posed a significant challenge.

The peeling of the prawns was in fact a necessary part of Olivia’s recovery regime. As she desperately needed to gain weight and showed no interest in squid initially, they purposely hand-peeled the prawns as the shells can build up internally when these turtles are unwell and not digesting properly, which can cause stomach issues.

Through the collaborative efforts of Woolworths and WIRES, Olivia’s dedicated carers were able to provide her with the sustenance she required. Woolworths Broome generously contributed gift cards while WIRES provided additional funds for squid and prawns. These contributions eased the financial burden and ensured that Olivia received the necessary nutrients during her recovery.

Thanks to the unwavering dedication of her carers and the support from Woolworths and WIRES, Olivia’s journey of recovery has been awe-inspiring. She successfully regained the much-needed weight, reaching 60 kilograms by the time of her release.

Witness Olivia’s incredible transformation

Olivia was released at Gantheuame Point, an iconic location along Cable Beach. Her return to the ocean marks a triumphant moment, serving as a reminder of the significance of wildlife conservation and the profound impact that collaboration and community involvement can have on protecting and preserving our precious marine life.


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