2 dead loggerhead turtles found at Ramla Bay in 10 days

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2 dead loggerhead turtles found at Ramla Bay in 10 daysNature Trust (Malta) has reported that within a period of ten days two dead loggerhead turtles have been found at Ramla Bay in Gozo. NTM said the indication of the cause of death seems to be fishing lines in their system. Loggerhead turtles often get caught on long lines.

NTM continued that fishermen often cut these turtles loose in order to release them but at times a long length of line is left attached to the hook. This results in being swallowed by the turtle and ends up passing through the animal’s digestive system.

While hooks may take a few months to degrade, the fishing lines take years.

“Once in the intestines of the turtle, lines may causes infection problems to the animal and in some cases the turtle suffers a painful death,” NTM said.

Nature Trust (Malta) said it “appeals to fishermen to cut the line as close to the mouth as possible when releasing a turtle. This will give the reptile a higher chance of survival.” The NGO also said it “appeals to the general public and boat owners, noting turtles that cannot dive or will look ill, to either contact the authorities or the Nature Trust (Malta) Wildlife Rescue giving details of the exact location of the turtle.”

NTM said that common turtle problems are swallowing fishing lines, swallowing plastic bags or other plastic objects, being hit by boats, bites from other fish and at times swallowing balloons which have landed on the sea after being released from land.

The NGOs has recently embarked on a Turtle rehabilitation project wherein it is collecting funds to set up the Wildlife Rehabilitation centre in Malta. So far this project has received the support of AirMalta.

The NGO concluded by saying that it would like to thank all those fishermen and members of the public who report such incidents and help to save turtles.

For more information contact Nature Trust (Malta) on 21313150 or info@naturetrustmalta.org

Photo shows a dead turtle washed ashore at Ramla Bay – Photo NTM.

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