Green sea turtles Koru and Pounamu and rare black sea turtle Pango have been set free as part of a turtle rehabilitation programme which has been run by Kelly Tarlton's for 20 years.

The green sea turtles were discovered distressed near Ninety Mile Beach in Northland. Pango was found at Waikarere Beach in the Manawatu in 2014.

Since being rescued, the endangered turtles have been cared for by a team of marine biologists at Kelly Tarlton's with support from Auckland Zoo's veterinary team.

Kelly Tarlton's aquarist Harry Josephson-Rutter, pictured with Koru, said turtles were ready to be returned to the sea when they could move up and down the water, swim and feed well and their shell was in good condition. The turtles were released at Poor Knights Marine Reserve in Tutukaka.


The turtles were expected to live on for several decades now they had been given a clean bill of health.

Kelly Tarlton's Marine Wildlife Trust funds the vet treatments and state-of-the-art satellite tags which send location co-ordinates every time the turtles surface.