STAFF REPORTER BALEARIC President Francesc Antich put formalities to one side yesterday and helped the Marineland Foundation return four marine turtles to the sea in the nature reserve of Cabrera.

The release, also attended this year by regional Environment minister Gabriel Vicens, is an annual event when turtles that have been taken in by the Foundation after being retrieved ill or injured in Balearic waters, are freed once more into the wild.

The turtles released yesterday were Casiopea (picked up off Cabrera in April this year); Tali (Colonia Sant Jordi, August 2007); Zipi (Cala Estancia, October 2009) and Zape (Santa Ponsa, November 2009).

Casiopea at 7.5 kilos was by far the heaviest and has been treated for an eye-infection. The others weighed in at 1.8, 1.95 and 2.2 kilos.
Tali and Zipi each had one of their flippers missing after having been trapped in fishing nets, but Marineland's conservation biologist Gloria Fernandez said yesterday that this in itself does not prevent the turtles from surviving adequately at sea. The Balearic sea is an important feeding ground for the marine turtle on its migratory voyages, she explained.

Antich (left in the picture) said that the turtle release, part of the Environment ministry's regional conservation programme, is a reminder of the contribution which can be made to protecting wildlife at a local level.