NTM successfully releases 3 more turtles after months of rehabilitation
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Three more turtles were successfully released earlier today from the Blue Flag Beach of Golden Bay, following months of rehab at San Lucjan.
Nature Trust – FEE Malta carried out the release watched by large crowds of well-wishers who came to watch the turtles returned to the sea.
Myrtle – an 8-year old turtle, was rescued in the area of Xlendi Gozo, in January – she was found with an embedded hook and a wound in the front flipper caused by the fishing line coming out.
As the hook was embedded too deep in the stomach of the animal, the turtle was treated in order to help it expel the hook and line. Following treatment the hook and line were expelled a month ago. After being monitored for a month, the Vet Dr A Grupetta, certified her for release.
Europa – a 3-year old turtle, was recovered off shore in the White Tower Bay area on the 9th of May 2017 (Europe Day). She had been found floating trapped in entanglement and with an embedded hook.
She was one of the first turtle to be operated on with the new Endoscope purchased by the organisation, partly funded by the Ministry for Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change.
This new equipment which cost in the region of €15,000 is now making it possible for injured turtles to recover faster when operated on the for the removal of hooks.
Moana – a 12-year old turtle, was one of the latest to be rescued. She was rescued by a boat sailing from Sicily to Malta, where the people on the boat noted that she was not diving and swimming lopsided.
The turtle was brought to shore and passed to Nature Trust – Wildlife Rescue. Following treatment she fully recovered. The turtle was named after the girl on the boat whose parents saved the turtle
Nature Trust – FEE Malta said that it is at the moment raising awareness on the rescue of injured turtles in order to reduce complications leading to sometime death.
In its campaign – it is appealing to the public that come across an injured turtle, especially those with fishing lines, to never pull the line or attempt to cut the line – but leave this operation in the hands of the vets.
NTM said, “a common mistake of animal well-wishers is that they pull at lines to cut lose – at times causing internal organs or tissue to tear inside the turtle which often leads to death a few days later. Furthermore entangled lines could be holding a blood clot and, that when the lines are removed, it could also cause death.”
NTM spokesperson said that – “In many cases of death turtles we come across, the necropsy shows that there were torn intestines or stomach tears. This would have been caused by line pulling – at times by people who think they are helping the poor animal. It is so sad to see such marine reptiles dying because of a simple mistake often done by those who try to save it.”
The organisation is also appealing to fishermen, who at times cut turtles loose from long lines, to cut line only some 15 cms away from the mouth and not longer.
NTM added, “in this way if turtle ingests line or is recovered, the vets do not have the challenge to try and get metres of fishing line out of the turtle. This too, at times is the cause of deaths. The 15 cms allows the vet to follow the line in with the endoscope and then be able to remove the hook.”
“Turtles have been on our planet for 200 million years – well before humans appeared. Today this magnificent animal is in danger of extinction due to pollution, marine debris, by catch fishing and climate change -all human activities,” stated NTM.
Anyone finding an injured marine turtle can call Nature Trust Emergency Number 99999505 or the Environment Authorities on 99210404 or Animal Welfare Department.
NTM is also raising funds to continue its work with wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. The NGO said that it depends on donations and sponsors and to date does not get any financial support from the Government.
Each turtle can cost the NGO hundreds of Euros. Therefore NTM said that it would like to thank the latest sponsors Mr Green and Oil Tanking Malta Ltd who over the last year helped them financially
NTM also thanked the Armed Forces, the Police. Animal Welfare, ERA, The Malta Aquaculture Research Centre, the Malta Tourism Authority and the Mellieha LC for their support