Partnership between Wildlife Vets International and Animal Friends to help sea turtle conservation

On 16th June, World Sea Turtle Day, Animal Friends Insurance donated £37,910 to Wildlife Vets International (WVI), with the aim of helping three endangered species of turtle – the green turtle, loggerhead turtle and leatherback turtle. This partnership will help to support the current and future welfare of sea turtles through promoting education and conservation efforts.

WVI is an organisation working with a range of partners and species around the globe, tackling disease control, providing treatments and rehabilitating endangered animals. The organisation aims to provide education and training on conservation to local communities so that the wildlife in the areas can thrive.

VWI will be providing veterinary training, advice and support to three turtle rescue centres: Fundaçion CRAM in Barcelona, Spain) ARCHELON Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in Athens, Greece and Local Ocean Conservation just outside Malindi, Kenya. The aim of this collaboration is to ensure that as many rescue turtles as possible can be returned to the sea.

With the rising levels of pollution and amount of plastic ending up in our oceans each year, this poses a big issue for the ocean’s wildlife. Plastic production is expected to increase by 60 percent  by 2030, and to triple by 2050. This poses a  growing risk to wildlife such as turtles, especially younger turtles, who spend more time in the open sea and are more likely to become entangled in plastic waste and fishing nets.

Veterinary Wildlife International Animal Friends sea turtle conservation
Photo by WVI

Over the next 18 months, with the support of Animal Friends, WVI will be providing  bespoke training from veterinary professionals with experience in turtle medicine, husbandry and welfare. Vets will give onsite training at conservation to have case discussions with staff, and to look at the current protocols in place, such as those for pain relief, tube feeding and taking bloods. They will also discuss how the available facilities can be better used, and how resources can be optimised within the centres.

Westley Pearson, Chief Executive Officer at Animal Friends, said: “Animal Friends not only supports welfare and conservation efforts that have an immediate and positive impact, but also sustainable educational programmes. This ensures the welfare of animals and their ecosystems well into the future.

“The vets and staff at these three centres will benefit directly from the specialist knowledge made available to them by the wonderful team from WVI. The turtles will benefit from immediate recovery support, providing a better long-term outlook, enabling them to thrive in their ecosystems.”

Olivia Walter, Executive Director, Wildlife Vets International, said: “We are delighted that Animal Friends is going to be supporting the work of our Turtle Team. It means that marine vet Tania Monreal and vet nurse Matthew Rendle will be able to travel to the rehabilitation centres as soon as restrictions allow. 

“It’s been almost two years since they were able to get to ARCHELON, for example, and a visit is now well overdue. Of course, they’ve been able to support them remotely, advising on cases and providing nutritional supplements over the last year, but there’s no substitute for face-to-face training and demonstration.

“It’s vital that they can see how the facilities have changed since their last visit, in order to assess how they can best support the centres going forward. 

“It also means that they will be able to make a first visit to Kenya too – where Local Ocean Conservation has been waiting for help since before the pandemic. We are looking forward very much to working with Animal Friends in the months ahead and sharing stories of the turtles that Matt and Tania will be helping save.”

Find out more about WVI their website, or on their social media channels.

You can also find out more about Animal Friends on their website.

Read more articles about Wildlife Veterinary International here.