In the last few months, we have seen images of turtles in distress and difficult rescue missions. We have also seen the images of the happy moment when recovered turtles have been returned to the sea. But have you ever thought about what happens in the middle part of this story?
When a turtle is rescued, the people in the field make the assessment if the animal can immediately be returned to the sea or if veterinary assistance is needed. In the last few years, seldomly turtles were ‘hospitalized’, it was less than 10 animals per year. In the last few weeks, this number has exponentially grown, with a maximum of 8 turtles in the clinic at the same time. As many as double that number have been camping out at SeaAquarium awaiting their return home.
When a turtle ends up in the care of the veterinary, a lot of time, energy and resources go into the daily care of the animal. Besides nutrition and medicine, one of the things the turtles need is fresh seawater. One turtle uses around 250 litres of water per day. If the turtle is still a juvenile, the animal is provided with fish for food, which leaves the water murky (and smelly!). The adult animals get fresh greens, like Romaine lettuce and baby spinach. As the animals spend the day in their personal basin, the water needs to be refreshed at least 1 time a day.
One of the tasks for STCC volunteers is to make sure that the vet is never out of fresh seawater. For this purpose, a system has been set up at the veterinary clinic, to make it easy for the waterboys and watergirls that bring the water and for the vet assistants who must use it. At this point in time, around 6000 litres of water are used per week. Twice a week, 2000 litres of fresh seawater is brought in by pumps, but this is not enough.
Here is how you can help: At the vet, you will find two blue barrels with cover always stand by, in which you can find 3 buckets each. With the barrels, you will find a funnel to make it easy to empty the barrel in the big container without losing too much water. If this is done every day, the turtles will always have fresh water.