To the surprise of onlookers a rare albino green turtle has been discovered on the shores of an Australian beach.
Volunteers stumbled across the newly hatched turtle at Castaways Beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast whilst gathering data around a recently laid turtle nest.
The team from Coolum and North Shore Coast Care said that they were surprised to discover the turtle after witnessing his siblings leave the nest last week.
“It was a surprise. We were amazed to see this small white creature with pink flippers,” group president Leigh Warneminde told CNN.
The little turtle was still sitting in the nest amongst the broken eggs when the volunteers found him.
“It is a very rare find, it is the first time I’ve seen one.”
Dr Col Limpus, chief scientist from the Queensland Government’s Threatened Species Unit, told the ABC that such a sighting is considered extremely rare.
“Albino hatchlings are extremely rare; it probably occurs at the rate of one in many hundreds of thousands of eggs that are laid,” he said.
“Normally they don’t survive coming out of the nest and when they do they’re abnormal and not well suited to the environment, which means the chance of survival is very slim,” he said.
This low survival rate accounts for why such a sighting is considered such a special occurrence.
Green sea turtles have an extremely low survival rate to begin with, as only one in 1000 reach maturity, according to Limpus.
“They get in the great eastern current so they have a whole lot of threats that face them, not just predators but plastic debris, and fishing in Chile,” Ms Warneminde said.
As such, the survival rate of albino turtles is even lower.
Their pink shells take away their natural camouflaging abilities, making them more susceptible to attack from predators in the wild.
Whilst little “Alby” faces a tough life, witnesses stated that he managed to make it to the ocean safely. “He was quite vigorous while walking from the nest to the ocean,” Warneminde said.