Protected Sea Turtle Left on Speedboat on Ugljan Island

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by Nikolina Demark,

More than 5.000 specimens of the endangered species fall victim to fishing tools in the Adriatic each year

A loggerhead turtle was spotted on a pier in front of the Psychiatric Hospital in Ugljan, reports Morski.hr on November 22, 2017. According to a statement of a concerned citizen, the sea turtle was found in a speedboat, and it was unclear whether the animal was alive or not at the time.

The discovery was upsetting because oceanic turtles are known as one of the most endangered animals worldwide, with all of the existing species inscribed in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). One of the biggest threats to sea turtles is contact with humans, as they are continuously in danger of accidentally getting caught in fishing equipment.

It is estimated that more than 5.000 specimens of sea turtles falls victim to trawls in the Adriatic Sea each year; they are often found unconscious, but in a state of hibernation. If handled properly, the animals can be brought back to consciousness and returned to the sea, while throwing the specimens into the water in such a passive state can lead to them drowning to death. Gillnets present an even bigger problem when it comes to the northern Adriatic, because almost all sea turtles that get stuck in the nets end up drowning as the nets are left in the sea for long periods of time.

As one of their activities, the Blue World Institute in Mali Lošinj runs a shelter for sea turtles that was founded as part of the NETCET project (the Network for the Conservation of Cetaceans and Sea Turtles) and funded by the EU. The shelter is situated in the Sunčana bay in Mali Lošinj and takes care of sea turtles by rescuing the protected animals, providing them with medical treatment and nursing them back to health until they are ready to be returned to their natural habitat.

The Aquarium in Pula houses another Recovery centre for sea turtles, while the Veterinary Clinic Puntamika in Zadar provides treatment for injured sea turtles found in the Dalmatian region.

In case you come across an injured sea turtle, you can report it by calling the number 051 604 666, so any animal in distress could be swiftly taken to safety and provided with medical treatment. After all, the endangered species need all the help they can get, and as such, it’s our responsibility that every specimen out there makes it back to its natural habitat – not a pier, not a boat, but the sea.

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