Oceans conservation, involving as many fascinating than worrying issues, is becoming, more than ever, a hot topic all over the world.
Recently, Netflix’s broadcasted documentary, SEASPIRACY, garnered immediate attention all over the world by highlighting the fishing industry’s environmental impact, the main driver of marine ecosystem destruction.
Beyond overfishing and by-catch, weakening the entire ocean ecosystem’s food chain, several studies denounce the pollution engendered. Mostly from fishing vessels’ broken and abandoned fishing nets, ending up being swallowed or entanglement of the entire marine wildlife. A large number perished from their injuries or asphyxiated, but sometimes, some of them are lucky enough to get a second life.
For more than 150 million years, marine turtles have been filling a vital role in the balance of marine life, while facing this pollution. Slaughtered for their eggs, shells and meat, marine turtles suffer from poaching, and face habitat destruction as their egg-laying beaches are damaged by intensive development.
Against this, some organizations have decided to react and take action. Devoted to environmental and animal protection, Equestrio Foundation, as the main objective is to financially and visually support human-sized initiatives, decided to join the cause.
For more than 20 years, The Lampedusa Turtle Rescue, founded by Daniela Freggi on Lampedusa’s island (Sicily), is one of these organizations. This rescue centre receives about a hundred turtles every year, often brought by local fishermen and maritime authorities. The turtles are then treated and rehabilitated with the invaluable contribution of veterinarians and volunteer biologists.
Daniela Freggi leads the centre with passion and dedication, driven every day by the admiration she feels for these animals. “As part of the marine ecosystems, I have always respected them, but living with them taught me so much! I learnt how they live without borders, migrating everywhere, they live a lonely life but are always determined and resilient. I can see so many of their characteristics in myself… ” says Daniela, a former biologist specialized in the marine environment, when we asked about her favourite animal species.
She also highly values the incredible work done by the volunteers, essential to keep the rescue centre going: “Their dedication amazes me every day, giving their time, energy, body and soul to help our patients.”
It is not always easy to live an island life, dedicated to one of the oldest animal species’ preservation, but often it brings magical moments, such as this turtle released day, after 8 years of rehabilitation at the centre, Daniela tells us: “One of the most emotional rehabilitation stories I have witnessed was that of Homerus. An adult female Loggerhead (one of the 7 turtle species) with paralysed rear flippers, and a broken front flipper. She remained at the centre for 8 years, no one believed she would be able to swim again… But through a lot of physiotherapies, she started swimming again! On the 26th of October 2016, Homerus returned home. Through the satellite, we were able to track her route while the battery lasted. At first, she swam south but decided to come back close to the island, this was a worrying moment, but 2 days later she continued her journey south. I guess she just wanted to say hello to us!
For 200 days, she swam more than 3600km!”
At Equestrio Foundation, these stories and dedicated people move our hearts, so we decided to support this organization for the next three years to sustain their action and impact on marine turtles conservation and ocean protection.
It is important to point out the running costs involved by a rescue centre and to remind that the Lampedusa Turtle Rescue depends 100% on donations.
If you are willing to help Daniela and the volunteers further pursue their incredible work in sea turtle rehabilitation and conservation, please donate here.
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