The sea turtle was found with a metal hook through its neck. Fortunately, a group of friends was able to help.
A planned free dive at the beach with a group of friends last weekend turned into an unexpected green sea turtle rescue. Brazilian musician Feu Marinho and his friends were planning to free dive on the island of Fernando de Noronha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular breeding ground for green sea turtles. When they arrived at the island site they noticed that members of the conservation group ICMBio were carrying out routine monitoring for environmental threats. So when they later spotted a detached fishing buoy bobbing in the distance, the group of friends decided to help out by heading into the sea to retrieve it. However, once they got to the location, they saw that in fact, it was not a fishing buoy that they had seen, but rather a large sea turtle that was involuntarily attached to the buoy and consequentially dragging it along as it struggled to become free. Marinho explained the seriousness of the situation that they faced when they realized what had happened to the turtle. He told The Dodo,
“He was attached to the buoy by a chain that eventually led to a hook. The hook was in the turtle’s neck. We divers, and the ICMBio staff, started the rescue procedure.”
The group of friends, together with the ICMBio workers, knew that they needed to gently remove the hook in the turtle’s neck without causing any further injury, however, this proved incredibly difficult as they could not stabilize the turtle for long enough. After several attempts, they decided to change tactics and carried the turtle to the shore to try to get the hook out there where they could keep the turtle steady. The group
After several attempts, they decided to change tactics and carried the turtle to the shore to try to get the hook out there where they could keep the turtle steady. The group was unsure how long the turtle had been hooked to the buoy but he appeared exhausted, and the attachment would have harbored him unable to swim or eat normally. Marinho said,
“We were all very tense about the possibility of not being able to save his life.”
Despite the stresses, the removal of the imbedded hook was a lot easier onshore, and it was removed without trouble. The group of rescuers then proceeded to carry the turtle back into the ocean. Although it was a victory for the group saving the turtle’s life, it draws attention to the amount of pollution in the ocean, and the huge consequences that this can have on the marine life. Marinho explained,
“Knowing that we as humans cause this means helping was not an act of heroism. We were fixing a mistake. But in the end we all hugged and celebrated. That was a very special animal.”
The act has highlighted that there are many sea creatures who are not as lucky, and if the group had not noticed what they initially thought was a detached fishing buoy, and if the ICMBio were not there doing their routine monitoring, then the sea turtle would have died. Each year thousands of individual marine animals die as a result of ocean pollution, including ropes and nets left by fishermen, consuming floating plastics, or by becoming trapped in plastic waste that has not been correctly disposed of by people every day. More monitoring projects and increased awareness about the implications of incorrect recycling is needed if marine life deaths are to be reduced in the future.
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