Research Fund 22/04 :: Rita CoutoAugust 30, 2023
Research Fund 23/07 :: Olga AzevedoSeptember 13, 2023
Meet “Iona”, a young loggerhead turtle, Caretta varetta, that was found on the 27th January 2022 on the Isle of Iona, which is a small island in the Inner Hebrides off the western coast of Scotland.
This juvenile turtle (smallest live turtle ever stranded in the UK!) was caught by the Gulf Stream during a large storm and ended up in an area where the water temperature at the time was 10 degrees Celsius! The turtle was extremely cold, stunned, dehydrated and undernourished, but was luckily placed in the safe hands of our friends from Sea Life Loch Lomond. It was later transferred to our other friends at Sea Life Scarborough, where it grew from 2.5 kg to a whopping 11 kg in one year!
Once Iona was nice and strong, conversations began to return her to the ocean, originally in the Canary Islands, which is part of their regular oceanic migration. When things were looking too complex on the paperwork front, Flying Sharks came to the rescue and offered to return Iona to the ocean off Faial, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, also part of their migratory pattern.
A few months – and a lot of paperwork (!) – later, we were delighted to welcome Iona to Lisbon airport, where it rested for a couple of hours before flying to Horta, where it is now recovering from this short adventure, before the real adventure begins on the 2nd of October!
We always face these turtle releases with mixed feelings… While we’re ecstatic to see them swim away into the great unknown, we’re also sad to see them leave and secretely wish they don’t encounter any fishing hooks, plastic bags, or weird currents.
But we have faith that the sea-turtle gods will keep Iona safe on the greatest adventure of her lifetime!