Taronga Western Plains Zoo's Wildlife Hospital sees over 700 wildlife cases every year and a portion of those cases are turtles.
Often turtles present with damaged shells which can take months to heal before they are being released back into the wild.
An Australian snake-necked turtle or Eastern long-necked turtle arrived at the Wildlife Hospital way back in November 2020 after being hit by a car on the Mitchell Highway at Orange.
The turtle was brought to the zoo by a WIRES carer and on veterinary assessment it showed the female turtle as being gravid or full of fertile eggs as well as having a large wound to her shell.
The eggs were laid in December and incubated at the Wildlife Hospital with five of these eggs successfully hatching. These hatchlings were then released into the Macquarie River in January 2021.
"This was a really great result to be able to firstly ensure the eggs could be laid and then to have half of them hatch after incubation and be released into the wild was a good outcome," Wildlife Hospital Supervisor Jane Burgess said.
For the next eight months the female turtle stayed at the Wildlife Hospital over the winter to allow her shell to heal. She was then successfully released by a WIRES carer back into the Orange region in September 2021.
"This wildlife case was in care at the Wildlife Hospital for a total of 10 months but it ultimately resulted in two positive outcomes."
"Some of her hatchlings were able to be saved and released and the female turtle was rehabilitated back to full health and released as well," she said.
"Often turtles just need a lot of time to heal especially those with shell damage," Ms Burgess said.
Not all the wildlife cases that present to the Wildlife Hospital are in care for this length of time, however, turtles often take longer to heal.
The Wildlife Hospital at Taronga Western Plains Zoo is a free service for injured, sick or orphaned wildlife.
If you come across injured wildlife you can contact the Wildlife Hospital from 8.30am - 4.00pm on 6881 1461 for advice or a local wildlife carer such as WIRES to assist.