Vet embarks on 5,500 mile Maldives trip to help preserve sea turtles
Alex McGhee, a vet and business intelligence manager at Linnaeus, swapped the Herefordshire countryside for the Maldives to help with the mission of saving endangered sea turtles. In the new role of data lead for the Sea Turtle Alliance (STRA), he will apply data science to assist local vets protect the endangered species.
STRA is an interactive global network, funded by swiss NGO, OceanCare, dedicated to sea turtle veterinarians and rescue and rehabilitation centres.
Six of the seven species of sea turtles are endangered due to human behaviour, due to a rise in them being poached and killed for their shells, eggs and meat. The increasing volumes of plastic waste entering our oceans also has adverse effects on the species.
Alex is working with the Olive Ridley Project, a Maldives-based organisation founded in 2013 to protect sea turtles and their natural habitat, and is involved in setting up the project with practice management software.
This will enable vets to accurately capture clinical records of the turtles, which is currently kept on a spreadsheet, and it will enable them to track and care for the sea turtles over a longer period of time.
If this pilot scheme is successful, it has the potential to be used in other locations to monitor the turtles.
Alex explains: “The aim is two-fold – to build up knowledge and to help put experienced vets in touch with the centres which need their help.
“We’ll be setting up the software, making sure the vets can operate it, and then adding all their existing data to it.
“We’re giving them a powerful tool to capture clinical records and manage turtles over a long period of time.”
In his current job, Alex leads a team of business intelligence engineers and analysts, collecting data from across Linnaeus businesses to provide insight into areas such as finance, people and VetSafe, which is the Veterinary Defence Society’s confidential significant event reporting service . Before this role, Alex worked in mixed practice in Devon.
“There are lots of vets in different centres across the world who work with sea turtles, and the work of the Sea Turtle Alliance is about connecting those different vets around the world,” explains Alex.
“These valuable creatures are hugely important to marine ecosystems and have travelled our seas for the last 100 million years, so I’m delighted to be able to play a part in their conservation.”
Visit the Sea Turtle Rescue Alliance for more information.
For more information on the Olive Ridley Project, visit here.
To find more about Linnaeus, visit their website or search for Linnaeus on social media.
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