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Second chance as loggerhead turtles released after rehabilitation

Injured turtles needed months of care before they could survive alone

  • Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

    Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Two loggerhead turtles were released on Thursday from Ġnejna Bay after months of rehabilitation at Fort San Luċjan.

The first turtle, Popeye, is about five years old and was rescued close to Popeye Village, Mellieha on March 18, 2018. Popeye was found entangled in abandoned fishing debris and was also found to have a lung infection following the ingestion of plastic. After four months of rehabilitation, Popeye was ready to be released.

The second turtle, Catherine, was rescued 3km off the coast of Armier on November 21, 2017. Catherine was also found entangled in marine debris and in bits of plastic but also has an old, visible injury indicating a boat strike that somehow managed to heal itself but left the poor turtle badly deformed. Assessment of the turtle also showed a massive lung infection and undernourishment but after eight months of care and rehabilitation, Catherine was also ready to be released.

NT-FEE Malta appealed to the public to be responsible when disposing of waste to prevent ingestion and entanglement of wildlife in such waste.

“Loggerhead turtles have been on our planet for over 200 million years but are now an endangered species due to pollution, climate change and the loss of sandy beaches to development,” it said.

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