Turtle receiving treatment. | Pere Bota

The Centre for Marine Fauna Rescue at Palma Aquarium reckons that 97% of turtles which arrive in Balearic waters during their migration are affected by plastic: either because they have ingested some or have been tangled up in plastic.

Gloria Fernández, head of the centre, explains that whenever there is notification of a turtle having been beached, one of its volunteers goes to the scene and takes the turtle to the Aquarium.

A preliminary check is made before the turtle is sent to a veterinary hospital.

For a turtle that has ingested plastic, the recovery time is normally up to two weeks. This can be longer if injuries are serious.

Plastic is a regular cause of injury.

Turtles confuse bits of plastic with plankton.

They can usually expel it, but they can also die as a result of eating plastic. Nets that are left behind by people who have been out fishing are a typical cause of entanglement.
One particular turtle was rescued in Formentera last September. It had been caught up in mesh.

One if its forelegs needed to be amputated because of gangrene.

The other had a deep cut but was saved.

If this hadn’t been possible, the turtle would have been put down. It was released a few weeks ago.

Some turtles which are dehydrated and hungry are in a state of shock and need several days to recover.

When this is the case, the rescued turtles are placed in tanks with only limited amounts of water. If they were placed in tanks with deep water, they would probably drown.

In 2018, forty turtles were beached in the Balearics; 28 of them in Majorca. Just sixteen survived. Over the first five months of this year, eight turtles were beached; four in Majorca.