Saturday, 17 July 2021

Injured Turtle in Korčula Bay: Rescued, Treated, Ready For New Life

July 17, 2021 -  An injured turtle in Korčula Bay sparked immediate action by locals and vets, seeing the turtle being saved and getting a second chance.

Like many other places, towns, locations, and neighborhoods, Korčula also has groups on social media to ease communication among users who share the same place of daily life. Friday afternoon saw residents of Korčula have a big heart, and despite might being stereotypically perceived as laid back, chilled chaps (as for every Mediterranian-culture impacted people), they were quick to act when needed.

A user under the name Antoni Ja, one of the members of the FB group Oglasnik otoka Korčule (Korčula Island Message Board), reported on a 20 kilo turtle floating in the sea in Žrnovska Banja. Floating, the keyword.

„Please do something, so it doesn't get hit by a speedboat or some maniac“, said Antoni Ja.

Other users immediately started to worry if the turtle was injured, and the name of a local vet Vilović was suggested as an address to report the issue.

Sure enough, Vilović examined the turtle, and the 20-kilo turtle turned out to be over 50 kilos. Not quite often seen in shallow waters, but nevertheless a normal turtle size in the Adriatic sea.

„It had a head wound, most likely from the propeller. It is on its way to the Specialist in Split by catamaran“, briefly commented Vilović.

Indeed, as the photo on the FB group published by Ana Jurić shows, the turtle was on its way to Split.

„Kudos to the vet and the guys that organized all this, and the turtle is huge!“ wrote Jurić.


Zrnovska Banja where the turtle was spotted floating © Visit Korcula

Dr. Mario Gavranović, head of the VET VISION clinic in Split, confirmed that the turtle arrived on Friday night.  „It should arrive in an hour or two. The propeller injury is an old wound and I will first have to examine it to see what is the proper way of treatment“, said Dr. Gavranović.

When contacted on Saturday morning to provide more information on what happened to the turtle, dr. Gavranović wasn't in his office. As confirmed by Aquarium Pula, the reason was Gavranović took the turtle to the aquarium which also has a Marine turtles rescue centre.

"The turtle is alright, on its way and should be in the Centre around midday", briefly confirmed Aquairum Pula.

Pula's rescue centre has been active for around 17 years (with turtles being strictly protected in Croatia since 1995 as one of the most endangered animal species), and wrote in 2019 how the centre cured over 100 turtles. 


One of the many rescued turtles by Marine turtles rescue centre © Aquarium Pula

Croatia loves its animals

With vets displaying their expertise, locals on Korčula once again demonstrated their compassion and big heart when it comes to animals. And that compassion is not different from the general mood in Croatia.

With the nourishing of the recently deceased stork Malena being the most famous story of love between Croatians and animals, there were plenty of other examples too. From rejoicing every time whales or dolphins are spotted, when sheep visited the Zadar mall or when a Croatian reality TV star Jasmin Kunišinac raised a fox.

Unfortunately, Croatia also records cases of animal cruelty, such as the poisoning of cats and dogs, and each time Croatian public met it with a fierce backlash and anger for such acts.

Despite quite often arguing about everything imaginable and unimaginable, Croatians also express solidarity with each other when things get tough. For instance, many cities canceled their new year celebrations and relocated the money to Petrinja following its earthquake, as well as Croatian entrepreneurs too. But, many more instances of help were noted over the years.

Learn more about Korčula on our TC page.

For more about animals in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Pula Aquarium: Rehabilitated Loggerhead Turtles to be Returned to Sea

As Glas Istre/Borka Petrovic writes on the 2nd of November, 2019, back in December 2018, a loggerhead turtled who was later named Mery Fisher was found by locals from Korčula floating along close to the shoreline of the island. After a stay at the veterinary station in Split, she was transported to the Pula Aquarium, where she needed to be carefully hand-fed due to multiple head injuries.

The Sea Turtle Recovery Centre is organising an autumn release of the rehabilitated sea turtles at 14:00 on Monday. Two turtles will be released into the sea - Mery Fisher and Zoki, who will be released on the Verudela Peninsula, on the beach next to the Verudica lighthouse.

As we have sinced learned, a GSM transmitter for telemetric monitoring will be placed on the turtles in cooperation with the Department of Biodiversity of the University of Primorska in Koper, Slovenia, as part of the project "LIFE-EUROTURTLE, joint actions to improve the status of protection and conservation of European Union sea turtle populations".

Prior to its launch, representatives of the Pula Aquarium will present the rehabilitated turtles, describe their injuries and the course of their recovery, and will inform the public about turtle monitoring and the project's activities.

Otherwise, Zoki is a loggerhead turtle who arrived in the centre at the end of July. He was found floating helplessly in the sea off the island of Susak. He was first taken by Blue World staff and kept at its centre, and given that he was still floating, they decided to call the Pula Aquarium and arrange transportation to the Sea Turtle Recovery Centre.

Zoki was thus put aboard the Bišovo catamaran on the first of August and transported to Pula. It was then learned that he had an old armor injury that was completely healed and there were no major health issues. He weighed 15 pounds on arrival, and is estimated to be between ten and fifteen years old. After arriving at the centre in Pula, Zoki soon regained proper buoyancy, and within a few days he began to eat the food offered normally.

As previously mentioned, back in December 2018, Mery Fisher the loggerhead turtle was found by locals from Korčula floating along near the shore. After being lifted from the sea, they noticed multiple head injuries. She stayed for a short time at the veterinary station in Split, which by decision of the competent ministry serves as a first aid station for injured sea turtles.

After a few days, the turtle was moved to the Aquarium in Pula, where she was given further intensive veterinary care and special attention was paid to regular feeding. With regard to her head injuries, it was necessary to feed the animal manually, but only after openly opening her mouth (assisted feeding).

In June, Mery Fisher was moved to Brijuni National Park, where she is housed in a large swimming pool as part of the animal shelter. Her swimming and diving skills were monitored there and she was eventually able to feed on her own. At the same time, the large surface of the pool allowed for some kind of fitness training and proper preparation for her return to the sea. She was returned to the centre in Pula on October the 24th, 2019, for final examinations and a GSM transmitter was fitted.

If you come across an injured or dead sea turtle, it can be reported by calling 112.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Underwater Camera Near Šibenik Films Curious Sea Turtle

Sea turtles, alongside dolphins, are without a doubt some of the world's favourite marine animals, and thanks to live underwater cameras, such as the one in Šibenik, we have the opportunity to watch them and many other fish and marine life via the internet.

There are several underwater cameras set up along the Croatian coast which show live streams of the seabed, one of the most popular among them is the one set up near the historic and increasingly popular Dalmatian City of Šibenik.

As Morski writes on the 13th of July, 2019, this underwater camera, which is due to mark these three years since its placement in the coming days, captured a passing and very curious visitor early the other morning.

The curious turtle, more precisely a Loggerhead, swam up to the Šibenik camera and appeared interested in the camera, pausing on its way somewhere and appearing to inspect the device.

The Šibenik underwater camera has recently been connected to the YouTube service and manages to garner more than 11,000 views monthly, with an impressive total of 60,000 viewing minutes. In its work so far, it has recorded numerous fish species; including octopus, squid, numerous fallen fish, grebe birds diving for their lunch under the water, as well as divers who engage in the theft of precious Mediterranean Pen Shells, which are protected by law.

The placement of the underwater camera was initially realised thanks to the cooperation of the Šibenik Meteo Association and the Institute for Marine and Environmental Research of the Ruđer Bošković Institute with the financial assistance provided by the Tourist Board of the City of Šibenik.

Watch the live stream on YouTube here:

Watch the footage of the turtle who came up to check the camera out here:

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Monday, 17 June 2019

Three Cute Croatian Sea Turtles Returned to Sea Following Recovery

As Morski writes on the 16th of June, 2019, Rafael, Tilago and Žal are the names of the three sea turtles that the Sea Turtle Recovery Centre staff released back into the sea on Friday, June the 14th, 2019. They were returned to their natural habitat on the beach beside the the Verudica lighthouse on the Verudela peninsula in Pula, Istria.

After the release of the aforementioned sea turtles back into the wild, Pula Aquarium organised the opening of the new Sea of ​​sound (More zvukova) exhibition at the Verudela fortress. The exhibition is devoted to the various sounds produced by marine fauna and more. Since 2019 is marked as the International Year of Sound, this exhibition will accompany the theme with interesting interactive installations and fun educational material on the production of sound in the sea, as well as the noise pollution which interferes with the daily lives of many marine animals, RegionalExpress writes.

Žal is a sea turtle who arrived at the centre back in early May, where she was weighed, weighing 15kg, with a length of about 50cm. Her age was estimated at fifteen. She was found by some fishermen fishing at the southern end of Istria, who thought she might have been accidentally injured during the lifting of the net because she wasn't moving very well. When she arrived at the centre, she floated around for a short time and didn't want to eat independently. After just one week at the centre, she began to eat sardines and squid, after which she recovered very quickly.

Rafael is a smaller turtle who was at the centre for a while recovering from the amputation of his right front fin. He was found weak, injured and frightened stuck in an abandoned fishing net along the coast of the island of Korčula back in February 2018. He was transported to Split where a vet unfortunately had to amputate the damaged fin, and after a few days, he was brought to the Pula centre to recover from his ordeal. Rafael's recovery was a long one, he was weak, weighed only 1kg and had a shell of 25cm in length, he was estimated to be only two years old. Today Rafael weighs 3kg, his shell is 30cm long and he has finally gained enough weight and is fit enough to lead an independent life back in the Adriatic sea.

Tilago is a sea turtle who was found by the staff of Telašćica Nature Park, he weighs 30kg and his shell is 60cm in length. His estimated age is 20. He was delivered to the centre way back in February 2017 where significant damage to his shell, as well as curvature of the spine were established. It is possible that a boat propellor accidentally caused extensive injuries whuch healed themselves, but unfortunately incorrectly filled the inside of his shell with air from his lungs. For this reason, it was much more difficult for Tilago to properly control his back fins and swim normally. Despite his woes, Tilago managed to regain his swiftness and proper movement by resting and spending his winter recovering at Pula Aquarium's large and safe swimming pool, and he's now ready to return to life at sea.

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