The Christ beach in Estepona was the scene this Monday of the return to the sea of ​​a copy of Stupid turtle who appeared stranded in the Malaga town of Veléz-Málaga on May 10, after passing through the Algeciras Marine Environment Management Center. It is the tenth that has been reintroduced to its natural environment this year 2023.

This return is part of the emergency program against the stranding of marine mammals and turtles in Andalusia, which is operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year throughout the Andalusian coast.

The Minister of Sustainability, Environment and Blue Economy, Ramon Fernandez-Pachecoparticipated in this act in which the turtle, named Vélez, returned to its habitat in the Mediterranean Sea. When she was found she weighed 14.9 kilos and, “barely two months later and after the care that the center’s professionals have given her, she now weighs two kilos more,” she said.

He appealed to the citizens, since “the work of all the professionals in the center of Algeciras, recognized professionals in many cases, not only in Andalusia but also nationally and internationally, would be a orphan labor if we don’t have the collaboration of the citizenry, of absolutely everyone”.

“We like to repeat that caring for the environment has to be, by force majeure, a shared task and today we are celebrating a clear example that this is so,” said Fernández Pacheco, who recalled the case of the turtle that appeared a few days ago laying its eggs in Marbella, reaching up to 69 eggs.

Thus, on behalf of the Junta de Andalucía, he thanked the citizen who was walking with his dog on the beach at night, “he saw the turtle and did what he had to do: he did not touch it, called 112 and the environmental authorities took charge”.

Thanks to this, said the counselor, there are currently nine eggs that are being cared for in the Fuengirola Bioparc and another 60 that remain on the beach: they are perfectly controlled 24 hours a day, in a cordoned off area so that, within approximately 50 days, those eggs hatch and all turtles hatch can be moved to our center in Algeciras so that, as has happened with Vélez, they can grow, become strong and return to their natural environment, to the Mediterranean Sea”.

He explained that the “so ambitious” program led by the Andalusian Government, called ‘Turtle Care‘, for the care and preservation of sea turtles, “goes far beyond what it has to do with the care of this natural species.” And he stressed that “their study, their analysis by scientists tells us a lot about the marine environment.”

He said that these animals look for warm waters to lay their eggs and increasingly choose the coast of Malaga: “this provides us with scientific information to know how climate change affects the marine environment and evidence that the sea temperature is rising“.

He also pointed out that the turtle that was found in Marbella “carries a sensor which has allowed him to trace everything to his itinerary and we know that over the last few years he has traveled through Malta, Cyprus, he has been to Italy and three years ago he spawned in Fuengirola”.

He also thanked all those people, both volunteers and professionals and scientists, who strive to ensure that programs such as the conservation of biodiversity are a resounding success In Andalucia.

In addition, he wanted to give a message of optimism: “we live in a wonderful land that has a invaluable heritagewhich is also one of the favorite tourist destinations in the world and, furthermore, has a unique biodiversity that we have the obligation and duty to care for, preserve and bequeath to future generations”.

The Vélez turtle was subjected to a veterinary care process at the Algeciras Marine Environment Management Center. During 2023 they have entered 14 copiesincluding two from the Malaga coast (one of them died of pneumonia), six from the SOS Caretta project (Sanlúcar de Barrameda), two stranded on the Cadiz coast and one more that appeared entangled in the tarifa trap (Cádiz). .

At the Marine Environment Management Center there are currently seven turtles entered: Macario, Aurorita, Saray and Locomía who entered through the SOS Caretta project; Manu who ran aground on Los Alemanes beach (Bolonia, Cádiz) and entered with an internal fracture in one of his fins; Luz Bella who was entangled in the tarifa trap (Cádiz); and Lush, which was picked up by a research vessel while they were sailing through the Bay of Algeciras and which had buoyancy problems.

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