Finding Pikelet – the story of a lost turtle and the flying kangaroo

Published on 23rd May 2016 at 11:06
pikelete boarding pass

Pikelet’s boarding pass for her flight home

Did you know that today is World Turtle Day? So to mark this occasion, we thought we’d share our own version of Finding Nemo.

On almost every Qantas flight, there is a furry, scaly or spikey passenger… in the belly of the aircraft that is.

Qantas Freight transports more than 4,000 domestic pets a month on flights around Australia and overseas, ranging from good old Fido and Whiskers to baby tigers, echidnas, piglets, koalas, snakes  and recently, a critically endangered Australian flat back sea turtle named “Pikelet”.

pikelet handler

Aaron Sprowl, Head Curator – Underwater World SEA LIFE Mooloolaba getting Pikelet ready for her release

She hitched a ride home from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast on a QantasLink 717 after getting a one way trip down south thanks to the East Australian Current – the very same one Marlin and Dory used to speed their way to Sydney Harbour in their search for Nemo.

Pikelet was more than 1000 kilometres from her home in the warmer waters off the Queensland coast.

The extremely rare juvenile female turtle was found flailing off Manly Beach by a group of swimmers.  Marine biologists from nearby Manly SEALIFE Aquarium retrieved the turtle and spent three months nursing her back to health after it was discovered she had ingested pieces of plastic.

With the young female fighting fit, the challenge was getting Pikelet back to Queensland quickly and with minimal stress.

The Qantas Freight team stepped in to transport her on QF5784 direct from Sydney to Maroochydore and within days of her rescue, Pikelet was packed up and checked in at the Qantas Freight Terminal for her lift home.

After a quick stop at Underwater World SEA LIFE Mooloolaba, she was released back into the waters off the Queensland coast in the hope she will have some little Pikelets of her own very soon.