Sydney Aquarium’sAnimal Rescue Centre is officially up & running with the arrival of its first patient, a Green Sea Turtle suffering from the side effects of plastic consumption.

WARNING: This story from Sydney Aquarium will leave you feeling immensly guilty for the plastic juice cup and plastic straw sitting on your table.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium opened recently after a six-month set-up period, during which time the centre applied and received permits to rescue animals from all around NSW and care for them until they’re ready to be released back into the wild.


A dedicated team of curators and aquarists were hired to help collect and rehibilitate injured marine life, including the centre’s first patient Matilda, a Green Sea Turtle suffering from malnourishment brought on by the accidental consumption of a fishing line and a candy bar sticker.

Emily Best, the aquarium’s Senior Aquarist, said Matilda was brought in after she was found underweight, covered in barnacles and suffering from buoyancy in Dolans Bay, Port Hacking.

Her first couple of weeks at the centre were concerning for staff as she was undereating. However, things quickly turned around after she passed plastic, which is believed to have caused her discomfort, pain and impacted her appetite.

Matilda has since made so much progress that the centre is planning to release her back into the wild in the next few weeks.


“Matilda’s rescue reinforces the devastating impact that plastic pollution is having on marine life, who mistake plastic for food.”

Emily Best, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Senior Aquarist

“Fortunately for Matilda, she didn’t fall victim this time but others will if we don’t change our ways.”

The Animal Rescue Centre took over three months to build and now contains five rescue tanks with unique water filter systems that can accommodate up to seven rescue animals at any one time.


Are you excited to see Sydney’s Aquarium making a difference?