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Saving Turtles

Thanks to generous donors to our Big Give Christmas Challenge 2019 we have doubled the training and support we are providing to turtle rehabilitation centres in 2020.

The turtle rehabilitation centres we support are doing a great job at providing care for the turtles that come in with injuries from entanglement in nets, collisions with boat propellers, traumas caused by a small section of the fisher communities and blocked guts from eating plastics.

The veterinary team provide on-the-job training to local vets and field biologists tailored to their needs, at a rate that they are able to turn in to long term changes. Throughout the year the team are on hand to provide advice and support.

Here is vet nurse Matt Rendle introducing William, a loggerhead turtle with a suspected blocked gut:

WVI is currently supporting three centers and you can find out what we plan to do in 2020 below.

In addition, we would like to find out more about the general health issues facing turtles. Screening turtles that come in to rescue centres is one way of find out what diseases they have been exposed to and perhaps determine what physiological changes the toxins plastics harbour and release are having on the turtle population. In 2020 we shall investigate the potential partners and feasibility of this kind of research.

Support for ARCHELON Sea Turtle Rescue Centre, Greece

Primary aim: ensure the health and welfare of the turtles at the Rescue Centre are at as high a standard they can be given the restraints.

How is WVI going to achieve this? Through training the Rescue Centre Staff and long term volunteers in husbandry and veterinary care that can be done by them under the guidance of their vet.

Through providing support and advice to their vet our team will equip her with the knowledge to better care for turtles.

For example, if a blood sample can be taken from turtles on arrival, how to determine level of infection and when to prescribe antibiotics. Or which painkillers to use in turtles so reduce stress/increase well being which aids recovery.

Practical logistics: Marine vet Tania Monreal and reptile expert veterinary nurse Matt Rendle will visit ARCHELON RC in May (at the beginning of the season) and August (during high season) for two days and carryout bespoke training for staff and volunteers as well as providing advice,support and clinical services. They will take with them donated equipment and supplements as needed.

After each visit a report will be written and at the end of August discussions will be had as to whether ARCHELON need further assistance from WVI.

Support for Fundacion CRAM, Spain

Primary aim: ensure the health and welfare of the turtles at the Rescue Centre are at as high a standard they can be given the restraints.

How is WVI going to achieve this? Training of an inexperienced vet (they get a new one every year) and rescue centre staff through providing regular clinical services, advice and support. Improving the facilities for the turtles by looking in to building a cover for the outdoor pools with a retractable roof.

Practical logistics: Marine vet Tania Monreal will visit monthly and provide support remotely, between visits.

Support for MCS, Seychelles

Primary aim: ensure the health and welfare of the turtles at the Rescue Centre are at as high a standard they can be given the restraints.

How is WVI going to achieve this? remote support and training continues to be provided remotely by Tania Monreal.

Practical logistics:  Ideally Johanna Storm will do a site visit if she goes to the Seychelles for the Seychelles Magpie Robin Recovery Project. Their X-Ray machine needs calibrating and there isn't anyone out in the Seychelles who can do this for a veterinary machine. So PLH Medical have offered to do this is WVI pays for flights.

Below is a video of Emma Milne who went to see Tania Monreal during one of her visits to CRAM. They are with Guillem Figueras, the Maintenance Manager in charge of all the life support systems, by the decompression chamber. Guillem and Tania are explaining how important the rehabilitation of individual turtles is to the conservation of turtles at large.