The loggerhead sea turtle
comes back home


The loggerhead sea turtle returns to the sea. That optimistic is the speech of Tourism of Tenerife, and they have reasons to be so: this institution, which belongs to the Insular Cabildo, made possible the return of this turtle (Caretta caretta). This event has coincided with the International Day of the Environment and the Oceans, and it happens during the International Year for Sustainable Tourism. Little by little, the canary seas recover a series of specimens which should not have ever abandoned their habitat. It is a search for balance between progress and environmentalism, a kind of initiative StarExcursions always defends!

On Monday, the 5th of June 2017, the act took place, in which ACEST association participated. This group is formed by the cetacean sighting companies of Tenerife which are committed to sustainability criteria. At the same time, the chief executive officer of Tourism of Tenerife, Vicente Dorta, was also present; a gesture that emphasizes the idea that this institution is really committed to the environment preservation.

the loggerhead sea turtle

This specimen of the loggerhead sea turtle had suffered severe damage during its presence in its natural habitat. This was the reason why it was rescued and cured. The idea was to return this turtle to its home after it had healed, as it has happened. To achieve this goal, it was carried to La Tahonilla Center of Wild Fauna, which also belongs to the Insular Cabildo -specifically, to the Environment Area.

In these facilities of the municipality of La Laguna, the technicians took care of the damaged turtle and brought it all the cares that were needed. As you can see, the results were positive, so this specimen was able to go back to the sea.


Balance between tourism and sustainability


This is not an isolated case. The insular counselor of Tourism, Alberto Bernabé, used this occasion to remind all of us that the insular corporation will implement, during this year dedicated to sustainable tourism, more than 50 similar actions. They will be done, as he has said:

“In order to sensitize our population about the necessity of harmonizing the touristic uses of our territory with its fragility”.

the loggerhead sea turtle

On the other hand, Bernabé added that:

“We live together with 15.000 tourists every day, so it is necessary to combine our main resource, climate and landscapes, with our main commercial activity, tourism. It is specially relevant, as tourism has grown exponentially over the last years”.



This has not been the caretta case during this week


But the caretta case has not been the only one that has happened during this week in the Canary islands. In Gran Canaria took place a similar situation on the 8th of June, the Day of the Oceans. In Las Canteras Beach, in the capital of the island -Las Palmas de Gran Canaria-, official institutions, animal caretakers and public coincide to witness the return to the sea of two specimens of loggerhead sea turtles.

This event was part of a series of activities which were created to raise awareness among the local population about the need of taking care of the environment. More than 160 school pupils were present, and the councillor of Sustainability, Pilar Álvarez, declared that:

“We want to vindicate the preservation and sustainability of our coastline and beaches, of our big urban parks, and this is why the presence of young people is so important”

The return to the sea of both loggerhead sea turtles took place in the area of La Puntilla, inside Las Canteras Beach. After having been rescued in Gáldar beach, these two specimens had to spend a recovery period as well. In both cases, the animals suffered injuries due to marine litter. Because of that, the director of the veterinarian center, Pascual Calabuig, pointed out the relevance of such actions:

“These allow us to make the problem visible, and how it affects to marine fauna”.

the loggerhead sea turtle

The loggerhead sea turtle has a
curious history of returns


Another case of returning, a very well known one, was the one involving the loggerhead sea turtle called Terry. It was found in the British island of Jersey, wrapped in plastic -one more time, marine litter involved- and with severe signs of hypothermia. It was urgently sent to England, where it started its recovery. The case was so famous, that the population of England took action to raise funds, in order to bring Terry back to where it belonged. More than 15000 pounds were raised, so this travel was possible.

The most curious thing about this case was that Terry flew in a very special plane: it was the private jet of Bruce Dickinson, singer of the band Iron Maiden. After staying for a whole month in a veterinarian center of Gran Canaria, Terry was brought back to the sea. This happened in Playa del Inglés beach, in the municipality of Maspalomas.

It seems clear that in Tenerife, as well as in the rest of the archipelago, our main source of wealth is climate and nature. Living surrounded by the sea makes this idea more visible, and reminds us daily the big presence of the marine environment in the Canary Islands. Thus, it seems obvious, and also urgent, that taking care of nature, the environment, is not only a matter of respect to our planet, but also an investment for the future. This is the only way to perpetuate the economic model that sustains our lives, but nowadays natural media are being exploited in an excessive, irresponsible way.

This new case of the loggerhead sea turtle might be the starting point of a new way of understanding our relationship with the environment, so now it is the time to seize this event to improve our way of life. 


Featured image: Luke Gray (link to the license).

Images 1, 3: Nataša Stuper (link to the license).
Image 2: Live Zakynthos (link to the license).
Image 4: James St. John (link to the license).
Image 5: Brian Gratwicke (link to the license).