Preciosa, a young turtle of 4 years, is one of the 25 animals that are in the process of rehabilitation in the Gremar Institute, a Brazilian NGO that is dedicated to the monitoring, rescue and treatment of animals found on the beaches of the coast of Sao Paul.
With her right fin amputated by the wounds that caused her to be trapped in a fishing net, Preciosa will continue under medical care during the next months until she is ready to return to nature.
The lack of a fin will not influence its adaptation to its natural habitat. Of course, swim slower than other sea turtles and may have “problems” when looking for a mate for breeding, explains Efe Rosane Farah, chief biologist and coordinator of the institute.
” Turtles can go back to nature and stay normal with their lives, although at the time of reproduction they may have more difficulties than a completely healthy turtle , “ says Farah.
Deaths and accidents by networks and garbage in the sea
The biologist points out that fishing nets and the ingestion of garbage present in oceans and beaches are the two main reasons for the death or stranding of marine animals, such as fish, birds, turtles and even penguins.
The most fortunate, such as Preciosa, manage to be rescued and admitted to treatment units of entities such as Gremar.
The rest lie dead in the sand, although they are also collected by the team of the institute, made up of some 50 professionals among veterinarians, biologists and volunteers, who perform necropsies to detect the cause of death and document the remains of garbage present in the bodies.
“We always try to identify the traces of garbage inside animals, precisely to, through environmental education, alert people about the consequences of littering in the environment,” explains the biologist.
Among the waste found both on land and in the water is everything from party balloons and plastic bags to candy wrappers, through ropes, cigarettes and even condoms.
They monitor the beaches daily
In the battle against the clock to save the lives of dozens of animals, Gremar employees have a rigid agenda: every day at 5.45 in the morning the monitoring of 24 beaches of the São Paulo coast begins, a task that lasts between three and four hours.
The entire process is rigorously documented. The start and end times of the visit to the beach, the meteorological conditions and the movement of the sea, the wind and the tide are recorded.
” After we passed the information to the computer and thus we set up a database that allows us to have control over the animals and the conditions in all the beaches where we work, ” says biologist Matheus Pereira.
With safety equipment that includes gloves, helmets, masks, goggles and nets, Gremar professionals also respond to phone calls to pick up injured animals.
” The animals are treated until they are back in top shape. Birds usually stay less, about a month, because they are more sensitive and susceptible to stress, “says biologist Flávia Lumia Kita. However, animals in a more critical state, mostly turtles, can be rehabilitated for up to a year.
Founded in 2004, the Gremar Institute has been integrating since 2015 the list of organizations that work in the Beaches Monitoring Project of the Santos Basin, created as a measure of protection for areas “at potential risk” of impact due to production and extraction of oil, according to the biologist Daniel Donadio.
The measure was one of the requirements of the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment for Petrobras to obtain approval for exploration in the pre-salt area.
Although most of the animals they encounter are already dead, the Gremar Institute has a rehabilitation rate of 30% and release copies every week, says its coordinator.
“Most of the animals we found are already dead, unfortunately. But returning those who manage to survive to their natural world is the best moment of all, it is a moment of celebration for all of us who work here, “he concludes with a slight smile.
Source: EFE Verde