Turtle bites off guide's finger

A MAN underwent surgery on his finger after a loggerhead turtle bit the tip of it off in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

American tourist Kim Valkner waited two years for his opportunity to volunteer at the Mon Repos turtle rookery and, as part of his one-month holiday to Australia, was doing a week’s volunteer work in the conservation area.

But in the early hours of Friday, as he helped stop the loggerhead on the beach so rangers could check her tags, his hands slipped from where he was covering her eyes — a normal turtle-stopping procedure.

“I realised my hand had slipped but I didn’t have time to move it back, and then snap.” Mr Valkner said.

“She was just doing what turtles do.”

Turtle rangers reacted quickly to Mr Valkner’s accident and got him off the beach and back to base to administer first aid on the finger.

Queensland Ambulance Service paramedics arrived on scene soon after the incident and transported Mr Valkner back to Bundaberg Hospital.

He underwent surgery on the finger yesterday afternoon.

“This is just minor,” Mr Valkner said.

“It’s not going to stop me from getting back on the sand.”

The tip of the finger was not recovered.



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