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This Is Northern New South Wales


It doesn’t come as a surprise that Ballina-based animal welfare organisation, Australian Seabird Rescue rescues seabirds… Australian ones.

But what isn’t so well known, or advertised, is the incredible work the volunteer team also do in rescuing, nursing, rehabilitating and releasing sea turtles.


Passionate and devoted volunteer and turtle nurturer, Tiffany ‘Tiff’ Lee, is at the forefront of Australian Seabird Rescue’s wonderful work, assisting and leading rescues and releases of all manner of marine creatures, avian, amphibian, or otherwise.

Tiff has often received phone calls and messages from the concerned community, contacting Australian Seabird Rescue for advice on stranded turtles, the somewhat misleading name belying the extent of their fabulous work.

So, gathering funds from friends, colleagues and the community at large, she has made a big step in rectifying this loss in translation:

“I don’t think there’s enough knowledge that there is a sea turtle hospital at Australian Seabird Rescue,” she shares. “It’s been there for about twelve of thirteen years, but a lot of people don’t realise it.”


Joining with local artist, Becci Zillig, co-founder of Byron’s Planet Corroboree, Tiff has created durable, soy-based car stickers to spread the awareness. At just three dollars each, and available from Australian Seabird Rescue, Planet Corroboree and Brunswick Heads Health Foods, it’s a small price to put on a turtle’s life, and all profits are returned to the cause.

“I contacted Becc because she’s local and I love her artwork,” recalls Tiff. “It’s so hard to ask for something for free, but I sucked up my courage and she said, ‘yeah sure’!”

“My friend and I were walking along the beach [several months ago] and we found a turtle,” adds Becci. “It looked so sick and nobody knew what to do about it. But it was taken to the hospital, where we visited it, and made a full recovery.”


Becci’s beautiful turtle artwork adorns the sticker, along with information on what to do and who to call if you should discover a stranded turtle. Becci’s stickers are already well known around the Shire – she is responsible for the black cockatoo feathers, whales and dolphins sported by many a Byron-registered car – and she is delighted to contribute to the cause.

Tiff says that many people have tried to return turtles to the ocean themselves when they come across them, but this could prove the difference between the animal’s life and death.

“A lot of people have told me that they have seen a sea turtle and they’ve pushed it back out to sea. If a turtle hauls up on the beach, it’s because it is sick, so it’s going to come back on land somewhere else and that might have been the opportunity to save its life. So it’s very important to have more people in this area aware that there is a sea turtle hospital.”


If you should discover a stranded sea turtle, or a seabird in distress, please contact Australian Seabird Rescue – 6686 2852 – or the Ballina-Byron Sea Turtle Hospital hotline – 0428 862 852.

You can purchase Tiff and Becci’s beautiful sticker at:

  • Planet Corroboree – 1/69 Jonson St, Byron Bay
  • Australian Seabird Rescue – 264 North Creek Rd, Ballina
  • Brunswick Heads Health Foods – 2/20 Fingal St, Brunswick Heads

View more of Becci’s beautiful work at: Becci Zillig Art

Or Join her on Facebook: