Shell-ter Success: A Decade of Conservation

Fernando Lopez Miras releasing a turtle

Unwavering Commitment: Murcia's Loggerhead Turtle Conservation Image: Twitter/ @LopezMirasF

OVER the past ten years the Region of Murcia’s relentless efforts has led to the liberation of more than thirty loggerhead sea turtles. This extraordinary effort really highlights the regional government’s dedication to safeguarding biodiversity. On Thursday, August 10 the 33rd loggerhead sea turtle was released in the protected area of Cuatro Calas, Águilas, with the help of the acting president for the Region of Murcia Fernando López Miras.

The young turtle that was released measured 54cm long and weighed 21.8 kg had been entangled and injured in the waters of Cabo de Palos. The unfortunate entanglement had severely impaired its ability to swim, resulting in injuries that needed immediate attention. The skilled team at El Valle Wildlife Recovery Centre provided essential care to treat the turtle so he could be released again into the wild. Through clinical examination, fluid therapy, and careful cleaning and disinfection of the affected areas, the team worked tirelessly to nurse the turtle back to health.

The loggerhead turtle is categorised as vulnerable in the Special Protection Regime list and the Spanish Catalogue of Threatened Species with an ‘endangered’ status by the IUCN. Among the threats faced by these turtles are plastic ingestion and the ingestion of floating debris and pollutants that pose long-term consequences for their survival. Additionally, accidental capture in fishing nets and entanglement in discarded fishing lines or drifting fibers further exacerbate the challenges faced by loggerhead turtles. Conservationists also point out the critical significance of preserving nesting beaches for these turtles as habitat disruption challenges their survival.

However, the success stories of rescued loggerhead turtles give us hope. After the release, López Miras said ‘The protection of the environment and the species of our ecosystem is one of the priorities of the Government of the Region of Murcia.’ Highlighting the importance of this work by saying ‘This is yet another example of the good functioning and coordination that characterises the Wildlife Recovery Centre.’

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Written by

Catherine McGeer

I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!