Marko Searching for Turtle Soul Mate, a Sad Story

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Marko is so far feeling well and being kept warm and will hopefully be luckier than Melita

In the same location where a hundred-year-old loggerhead sea turtle named Melita was recovered five days ago, one of the largest of its kind ever seen in the Adriatic, hurricane-force Bura wind stranded another turtle, named Marko. He is somewhat smaller and in good health, but will not be re-joining Melita, as she succumbed to the cold and poor health in the Centre for Endangered Animal Species in Pula, Slobodna Dalmacija wrote on January 16, 2017.

“Marko is so far feeling well and being kept warm and will hopefully be luckier than Melita. There are no visible injuries on the turtle, we warmed him up straight away and waited for experts from Pula,” said Marin Mirčeta, the veterinarian who took care of Melita when she was recovered. He cited the main cause of suffering of loggerhead sea turtles is the cold sea which makes their muscles go numb, rendering them unable to swim.

“The area where they were found is shallow sea, so turtles cannot seek shelter in deeper areas where it is warmer,” added Mirčeta.

“Everything is ready for Marko. We were unfortunately unable to save Melita, a rare specimen, but we believe this time we will fare better as Marko’s health is seemingly much better,” said Karin Gobić, head of the Pula based Centre. She explained the distress of turtles is caused by the sudden cooling of the sea.
“When the sea temperature goes down, the metabolism of turtles slows down, their immunity declines and the turtle simply freezes.” The Centre in Pula is equipped with a surgical space, intensive care pool and pools for long term recovery of turtles in controlled conditions. Also, it is a place where visitors can learn more about sea turtles, their importance for the environment, endangerment and ways to help them.

“We currently have four turtles in recovery from Lošinj, Hvar, Split and Kornati. Marko will be the fifth. Depending on their condition, turtles can spend between two months and two years in recovery,” said Grbić. Although protected, sea turtles are still in drastic decline. It is estimated that each year just trawlers accidentally catch 2.500 turtles. Around 3.600 more are caught in western Adriatic. Very often the caught turtles are in hibernation and must be revived before returning to the sea, as they may drown.


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