Volunteers from Coolum and North Shore Coast Care were checking nests on the Sunshine Coast’s Castaways Beach on Sunday when they spotted a “pink-eyed, snow white” turtle in what they believed was an empty nest, the ABC reports.
The group’s president, Linda Warneminde, said at a glance it looked like a normal baby green turtle but closer inspection revealed “it had white shell and it had little white flippers”.
“And you could see a little bit of pink under its flippers,” she said.
A video shot by one of the volunteers shows the albino turtle scurrying along the shore furiously until it finally reaches the water.
Ms Warneminde said no one in the group had ever witnessed anything like it.
The Queensland’s Government’s Threatened Species Unit chief scientist, Dr Col Limpus, said albino hatchlings were extremely rare.
“It probably occurs at the rate of one in many hundreds of thousands of eggs that are laid,” he said, adding that he had never seen one in 50 years of working with turtles.
The doctor said that only one in 100 normal green turtles will reach maturity and the chances of an albino surviving were probably even more remote.
He said most never make it out of the nest but now that this albino had it was far from being in the clear.
Green turtles travel across the Pacific to Chile but the voyage is fraught with danger.