A GREEN turtle that probably travelled south from Queensland before washing up at Portsea died shortly after being taken to Melbourne Zoo.
It is not the first time the warm water species has been discovered on a beach on the Mornington Peninsula, with one nicknamed Terry washing up at Rye in 2017.
Portsea beach walker Judy Vella discovered the exhausted turtle near the Portsea quarantine station on 22 July, and first believed the reptile was dead.
“I panicked, I was in tears for the poor thing, I didn’t know who I should call,” she said.
“I range parks Victoria and they sent a ranger down, and then we discovered after a bit of a poke that it was well and alive.
“We all just gasped.”
Marine rescue eventually took the turtle, which was then taken to Melbourne Zoo for examination.
Apparently, the juvenile turtle had head and lung problems, and at 40 kilograms was considered to be undernourished.
The zoo’s marine response unit officer Ebony McIntosh said the turtle was in poor condition.
“It is rare, but not unprecedented, for green sea turtles to be found in Victorian waters, as their ideal ocean temperatures are further north,” she said.
“Melbourne Zoo vets determined the turtle was cold-shocked and administered fluids, but the turtle died shortly after arriving at the zoo.
“A necropsy found the turtle died from sepsis, a bacterial infection originating in the kidneys.”
Anyone who sees wildlife in distress or needing assistance can phone the Melbourne Zoo marine response unit on 1300 245 678.