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Flying flatback turtles arrive at Sea Life Melbourne in bid to save species

Mikaela Day, May 24, 2017 6:00PM Herald Sun

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animals

Reading level: green

FOUR little sea creatures have decided that Melbourne is a “turtley awesome” place to call home for the next year.

The baby flatback sea turtles took to the sky, flying Qantas from the Sunshine Coast to their new habitat at Sea Life Melbourne.

And it was fitting that they boarded their flight on Tuesday, May 23 — World Turtle Day.

As part of the Sea Life aquarium conservation project running across Australia, the turtles will be hand-raised before being released into the wild in an attempt to save the species.

Exhibit manager Dylan White said the flatback sea turtles were a vulnerable* species and action needed to be taken now before their numbers declined further.

Four Flatback turtles arrive at Melbourne Airport. Picture: David Caird media_cameraFour Flatback turtles arrive at Melbourne Airport. Picture: David Caird

“A major threat to all sea turtles is plastic pollution — where possible, refuse one-use plastic such as straws and coffee cups to help minimise the impact of marine debris,” Mr White said.

When they prepare to take off again, each turtle will be fitted with a miniature satellite tracking device that provides critical information about their movements when they’re in the ocean.

The four hatchlings, weighing barely 100g each, will be in quarantine* for a month before moving into their new habitat in time for the winter school holidays.

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GLOSSARY

vulnerable: in need of protection and help

quarantine: a place where animals are held when they first arrive somewhere new

LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

Activity 1. Finishing the sentence

The following sentences have been started.
Your job is to finish them off by using information from the article to make the sentences factual and informative.

Four baby flatback sea turtles…

The number of flatback sea turtles…

We can help flatback sea turtles…

Once back in the wild…

Extension:

Write an acrostic poem on the word ‘turtle’.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English

Activity 2. Research and draw

Do some research about flatback sea turtles and draw a picture that shows what they look like, what their habitat is like, what they eat and some threats to them.

Extension:

Find out the differences between a turtle and a tortoise and write a sentence to explain them.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Science, Visual Arts

VCOP ACTIVITY

(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation)

A name fit for a turtle

The four turtles heading for Sea Life Melbourne don’t have names yet.
Try and come up with a unique name for each turtle, as well as a sentence or two to describe the personality traits or features that you thought of when naming each turtle.

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete the task

Curriculum Links: English, Big Write, VCOP

EXTRA RESOURCES

SUBURBS TEEM WITH WILDLIFE

REMOTE ISLAND PLAGUED BY PLASTIC

TASSIE’S WATER SPARKLES BLUE

TINY BATS HAVE A BIG JOB

GREAT WHITE SHARK FUTURE IN BALANCE

Extra Reading in animals