Elliot - the Albino Green Turtle hatchling - as seen on TV
John Meech Queensland Parks and Wildlife Officer.
I am based at Mon Repos Turtle Rookery, outside of Bundaberg, which is the largest mainland Loggerhead nesting beach in the southern hemisphere. I have worked there for over 20 years and my turtle work is under the guidance of Dr Col Limpus.
Because of my passion to save turtles I volunteer my time to monitor nesting turtles and hatchling emergence on other islands, mainly Lady Elliot Island for 17 years, and "Elliot”, the pure white hatchling was the first one that I have found in my years at Lady Elliot Island. The chances of finding a healthy albino Green hatchling at the top of the nest where “Elliot” was found, is approx 1 in 100,000. She was 60cm above the egg mass and caught under a piece of coral 10cm from emerging. I know she is female because temperature determines the sex, with warmer temperatures producing female hatchlings, and her nest was in the open at the northern end of the island airstrip. She would have been incubating during the hotter months of the summer.
If hatchlings are discovered trapped under coral while processing nests during daylight hours, these hatchlings are not released until after dark to protect them from heat and predators such as birds. The albino was released under the cover of darkness with other hatchlings from the same nest.