A blind, white-throated snapping turtle named Elsey has just been welcomed as Alexandra Park Zoo's newest resident.
Bundaberg Regional Council's Operational Supervisor of Natural Resource Management Greg O'Neill said Elsey had come to the zoo after an unfortunate incident which left her blind.
“Elsey has no eyes due to an injury that occurred out in the wild, possibly from a predator or another snapping turtle,” he said.
“She was recently found by a member of the public near the Mary River.
“Being completely blind and with an injury to her nose, Elsey was taken to the Australian Wildlife Hospital at Australia Zoo to be cared for.”
Greg said after her injuries were tended to, plans were made to transport Elsey to Alexandra Park Zoo where she could be kept safe.
“Being blind makes Elsey vulnerable to predators,” he said.
“A vet assessment determined that Elsey’s chances of survival are low if she were to be released to the wild.
“The Department of Environment and Science approved Elsey's placement here at Alexandra Park Zoo to live out the rest of her days.”
Greg said the Alexandra Park Zoo team was thrilled to welcome the turtle, who had completed two weeks in quarantine and was ready to say g'day to the public.
He said the zoo was the perfect place for Elsey to call home.
“Zookeepers provide Elsey with plenty of food, including her favourite aquatic plants along with paw paw, rock melon, mussels, fish and prawns,” he said.
“Although Elsey is completely blind, she can move around easily to locate her food using other senses such as smell and touch.
“She will now take on an important ambassador role helping raise awareness for her critically endangered species.”
Elsey is one of three white-throated snapping turtles at Alexandra Park Zoo.
The turtle species is only found in the Burnett, Mary, and Fitzroy River systems.