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Three-flippered turtle swims on

Three-flippered turtle swims on

Posted: 16-Jul-2020

Coffs Harbour’s charismatic Australian Green Sea Turtle is moving to a new home.Plugga was rescued as a wild hatchling in 1990 and came into Dolphin Marine Conservation Park’s care missing a flipper. She was found washed up on the beach with most of her right-rear flipper missing, likely the result of a predatory attack.

Plugga was only the size of a fifty-cent coin and as a result of her injuries deemed unreleasable. Despite her handicap, she has spent her life swimming, feasting on the best quality fruits and vegetables, and lapping up the admiration of everyone who meets her. Now, 30 years on and 70 cm wide and 75 cm long, it is time for her to move to a larger facility where she can continue to grow and thrive.

Dolphin Marine Conservation Park works closely with SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and as a result of this strong relationship, Plugga will move to her new home in Sydney this week.

“While our team are very sad to see Plugga go they know she will be given the expert care she deserves in a facility that has the appropriate space for an animal of her size,” said Terry Goodall, Managing Director of Dolphin Marine Conservation Park.

Green Sea Turtles (Scientific Name: Chelonia mydas) are endangered. They commonly live for up to 80 years and are the largest hard shell sea turtles growing up to 1.5 metres long and weighing 300 kg.

Mr. Goodall added, “Plugga is only 75cm long and 100kg so she still has a lot of growing to do! She also has a lot of life left in her and we look forward to following her new adventures.”

The plan is to eventually release Plugga back to the wild once she successfully adjusts to her spacious new home and is properly prepared for the potentially hazardous journey ahead.

“Australian Green Sea Turtles are endangered so she has to be well and truly ready to allow her to move back to the wild so she can continue her species,” said Mr. Goodall.

And how did Plugga get her name?

“She was named by the young niece of our longest serving marine team member, Greg Pickering who has dedicated 50 years to caring for marine animals at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park and Dolphin Marine Rescue”, explained Mr. Goodall. “She just liked the name but Plugga has always plugged along quite capably and impressively with three flippers so we think the name is spot on”.

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My mum and I just spend the whole weekend at Pet Porpoise Pool, we travel from Tweed to Coffs just to see Buck and Zip, we love them and can't get enough. Already driven down 3 times this year, and every time it's amazing. And we loved seeing all 5 dolphins in the pool, Bella's a sneaky little thing! We got drenched by her plenty of times hahaha. Great to hear you enjoyed yourselves - Paige S..


Every time I come to Coffs Harbour I visit marine magic! My family and I can’t get enough of these beautiful animals. Can’t wait to bring my partner this year so he can experience why I love it so much. Thank you Georgia, we look forward to welcoming you back to the park!..

Karen Purchase

I went up there nearly 2 yrs now after I turned 50. I had received money for my birthday and decided I wanted to do the “trainer for the day” experience. Was the best thing I have ever done in my life, seeing the behind the scene as well getting up and close to all the animals, my favourite parts were taking Elle for her walk around park twice, involved in show, and of course my experiences wi..

Bianca W

Thank you for our tour of your park. We have attended 3 times within the last 11years and have found this way was an amazing way to get up close with the animals and learn more about them. Our guide had lots of information to share and was very good at engaging with the children in the group. Highly recommend. We attended on the 14/7/20 Thank you for taking the time to share your lat..


My son had a brilliant dolphin swim with Trainer Stacey yesterday morning. Stacey was fun, informative and professional and zippy the dolphin was the perfect student loved loved our morning with these beautiful animals Thank you for your lovely feedback Jo, we will let Stacy & Zippy know!..

Diane Binks

Had a great visit to DMCP on Tuesday 30/6/2020, we had an escorted tour of the park with a very informative guide showing us around the park. This visit was very different to our normal visits but my granddaughter and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit! Thank you to all the wonderful people at the DMCP, you are all amazing! Hi Diane, Thank you for your lovely feedback, this is new to all..

Sharon Page

I took my two youngest grandchildren there in July 2018, they both loved it and still talk about it to this day, so we are planning to return with my oldest grandchild as well. They don't like the drive from Sydney, but they do love it there so it makes it worth the trip. Great place, educational and fun. Thank you Sharon, we look forward to seeing you again..

Sharon Fisher

My husband, daughter and my two grandchildren are driving up from Forster on the 26/06/20 to spend the weekend in Coffs Harbour for a getaway weekend.. My daughter , a single mum has just passed her paramedic course and is now in placement in Tea-gardens. She has been so flat out working 12hr shifts. So the reason to get them away for some quality time . I would love to surprise my grandbabies..

Jason lowe

The park is amazing I want to take my daughter their on November for her birthday she would love it so much Thank you Jason..

Rachel Knight

Best birthday ever! I spent two days at Coffs Harbour on January 6 and January 7. I travelled down on the 5th and left on the 8th, my sole reason for traveling 7 hours by train each way being to spend my birthday at your park which is on January 6. I loved it so much and everyone was so friendly that I have already booked my next holiday for 2021 so I can see you all again. My first day I book..

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