In the ongoing global battle against climate change, pollution, and human impact on the environment, sea turtles have tragically become unintended victims. These ancient creatures, navigating our oceans for over 100 million years, face threats worldwide, including the Canary Islands.
“SOS Tortugas Marinas” is a collective call to action, initiated by the DIARIO DE AVISOS Foundation, aimed at raising awareness and strengthening the commitment to protect these majestic creatures and their fragile habitat. This initiative serves as a banner in the fight against the devastating effects of climate change, serving as an educational and informative tool to foster awareness, particularly among the younger generations.
This week, at La Nea beach in the Tenerife municipality of El Rosario, two Caretta Caretta turtles, commonly known as loggerhead turtles, were returned to the sea. They had been rescued and rehabilitated at the La Tahonilla Wildlife Recovery Centre, which operates under the Island Council of Tenerife. A small group of families, especially young ones, witnessed the heartwarming event. The dedicated staff shared detailed accounts of the turtles’ recovery stories, the threats they face, and the treatment required to heal their various injuries and damages sustained during rescue.
Turtles often require extensive rehabilitation, care, and even surgery due to ingesting plastic, which they mistake for food, or getting entangled in discarded fishing gear and nets, often referred to as “ghost nets.” Such entrapments pose severe dangers, leading to asphyxiation, exhaustion, or limb amputation in the best-case scenario.
Lisardo Cejas, head of the educational program at La Tahonilla, recounted how one of the turtles about to be released underwent surgery after losing a flipper due to injuries sustained during its rescue off Tenerife’s waters. All these dangers are a consequence of raffia bags and nets being abandoned in the marine environment, posing significant threats not only to turtles but to other marine species.
Various authorities also attended the event, showing support for the Foundation’s work. Blanca Pérez, Councillor for the Natural Environment, Sustainability, Safety, and Emergencies of the Island Council of Tenerife, emphasized the importance of such activities in raising awareness among the population. She stressed that each individual should take responsible actions in their daily lives to care for the environment, which is vital for both animals and people.
The Mayor of El Rosario, Escolástico Gil, and the Mayor of Ecological Transition, Fidel Vázquez, also lauded the DIARIO DE AVISOS Foundation’s initiative and expressed gratitude for their involvement in preservation and awareness projects. They highlighted their municipality’s commitment to preserving the natural environment through various initiatives.
Priscila González, project director of the DIARIO DE AVISOS Foundation, emphasized the significance of the event, not only for the invaluable act of releasing the turtles back to their natural habitat but also for the opportunity to shed light on existing environmental issues. The foundation’s objective is to engage people and raise awareness about pollution’s profound impact on the marine environment and its biodiversity. They are fully dedicated to promoting projects that encourage a change of perspective and generate actions that positively impact environmental preservation.
The day culminated with the release of the two turtles on the beach’s shore, where they quickly swam back to their home in the sea. Witnessing this magical moment, attendees broke the silence with warm applause, celebrating this emotional and meaningful event.