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Endangered Turtles Tracked by Technology

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The appearance of turtles on the beaches of the east coast of Spain is becoming an every increasing phenomenon. Members of the Oceanogràfic foundation from the City of Arts and Science in Valencia describe how in 2014 there was a nesting in Alicante, a year later on the beach of Torrevieja (Alicante) and in 2016 in the sand of Sueca (Valencia). In all of these cases, members of the public had reported the turtles and so ensured their protection whilst they went about the natural development of this endangered species.

This week, scientists and experts from the environmental department were able to delicately intercept a turtle on a Valencia beach and fit her with a tracking device so they can monitor her progress as she tries to find a nesting ground.

Members of the public reported spotting the turtle trying to nest in the sand of Port Saplaya, in Alboraya (Valencia). They instantly alerted the 112 emergency coordination centre who dispatched a response team comprising of representatives of the University of Valencia, the Ministry of the Environment, and members of the Oceanogràfic foundation sent to investigate.

The 74-centimetre long female turtle showed intent to spawn on he beach by starting digging a nest in the sand. However, she failed due to water coming into the hole and so, before being returned to the sea, the team were able to carry out blood tests and an ultrasound to verify the mother was in good health, and then they installed their devices before she returned to the sea to find a more suitable location.

If you spot a turtle on the beach, stay away. Avoid making eye contact, stay out of its field of vision, do not walk or disturb the tracks in the sand, and call 112 to report what you can see. The emergency centre staff speak a variety of languages and are prepared for such occurrences, so don´t be worried, just call them and do your bit to help these amazing, though endangered creatures.

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