Sun, Jul 02, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Injured endangered sea turtle prepared for release

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

An endangered sea turtle injured by a fishing net has partially recovered and on June 21 was sent to an aquarium in Pingtung County in preparation for its release back to the ocean, Council of Agriculture officials said.

In January, the Yilan County Government said that an olive ridley sea turtle was found entangled in a fishing net off the county’s Suao Township (蘇澳).

As one of five species of sea turtle commonly found near Taiwan, olive ridleys are listed as endangered by the council and a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The injured sea turtle’s forelimbs were not amputated, the bureau said, adding that after months of treatment by National Taiwan Ocean University (NTOU) students, the sea turtle has gained about 2kg.

The sea turtle weighs 35kg and is 85cm long and 70cm wide.

The sea turtle was nicknamed Chansey (吉利蛋) after a Pokemon Go character by the NTOU students who cared for it.

The sea turtle is still unable to dive, so it is transferring to the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium in Pingtung to relearn the skill before it is released, bureau Conservation Division director Hsia Jung-sheng (夏榮生) said.

The council’s Forestry Bureau in 2013 set up a nationwide platform for rescuing sea turtles with local governments, NTOU and the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium.

In the past four years the bureau has received 520 reports of injured sea turtles, but 60 percent of them were found dead, Hsia said.

The other 40 percent were rescued with most of them caught by fishermen unintentionally, hurt by waste nets or found accidentally, she added.

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