"You never forget your first love". That's true. At least for me. Don't get me wrong, I am not speaking about my personal life. I am speaking about my first concrete actions in the world of the conservation. If there is a life changing moment in my life it's 2011 after that I watched the documentary "The Cove" of Ric O'Barry (I will write something about it soon). I decided to take action. How? First of all I became volunteer of Sea Shepherd but it wasn't the right way for me (I really admire what Sea Shepherd does) because I was feeling the need to take concrete action at local level, where I live.
That's why I started to look what I could do at local level and I was looking for some Sea Turtles Recovery Centers because I have always loved Sea Turtles. They are so emphatic animals that are able to attract the attention and love of everyone worldwide but they are among the most endangered animals of the Planet.
I started to volunteer for many Sea Turtles Recovery Centers in South Italy and I discovered the network "Progetto Tartarughe" of the WWF for which I still collaborate as volunteer through the collaboration with the WWF Policoro.
This picture shows one of the first Sea Turtles that I released in freedom after that it has been recovered and cured. Since that moment I really lost the count of how many Sea Turtles I released and, over all, rescued on the coast and by the sea. For this I really want to thanks all the Centers and people that gave me the chance to support their work and another important thing to say it that passion is not enough because even if volunteer, actions need to be based with knowledge and skill because, over all sea turtles, are extremly in danger and there are several important rules and things to know before to act.
Back to my experiences... still many people are surprised to discover that we have many Sea Turtles on our coast.
Seven different species of sea turtles live in our ocean & seas worldwide and 3 of them live in the Mediterranean Sea (Loggerhead - the most common (Caretta caretta)- , Leatherback and Green Sea Turtles).
Human activities have a huge negative impact on the populations of these amazing old mariners. Nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as Endangered.
Among these human actions, the most dangerous are nets and longlines, impact with boats and ingestion of plastic debris.
It has been calculated that almost 150.000 Sea Turtles suffer for one of these problems each year in the Mediterranean Sea and that almost 1/3 of them die.
Plastic debris is more and more a dangerous problem. The numbers are shocking: the 35% of Sea Turtles found dead have ingested plastic debris and the 50% of the Sea Turtles population in the Mediterranean Sea is potentially at risk of ingestion.
As I said, I rescued and released many Sea Turtles (really a lot) but maybe the number of the one that I saw dead it's higher.
I won't show you any bad pictures (you know that my philosophy is to share happiness and something that make you smile) but I invite you to have a look on Google. Worldwide these animals are slaughtered for their eggs, meat and shells and they suffer from poaching and over-exploitation. They face habitat destruction and climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites because it alters sand temperatures, which then affects the sex of hatchlings.
Really bad situation, isn't it? I have to be honest and to admit that yes, the situation that they are facing is really bad BUT WE DON'T HAVE TO LOSE HOPE!
That's why I am dedicating my life to their preservation and I know that many other "Turtle lovers" take action wordwide realizing great conservation actions! My team and I have created many initiatives, realized in collaboration with several organizations specialized in this field, focused on the conservation of these animals & their habitat, reducing their mortality, preserving and monitoring the sites of the nesting season, realizing survey of the nests, implementing awareness campaigns of education about this topic in universities, schools, public spaces, involving youngsters, children, adults, locals, tourists, expertes and fisher-men.
The reason for which I still do this after many years, with the same passion, is because the emotions and the feelings while we release each Sea Turtle, while I see it swim free and get lost in the big blue or when they hatch and we wait hours and hours at night to preserve their first path on the sand before they begin their long journey by the sea... all these amotions and feelings are always extremly strong, like if everytime is the first time. All of you can take action to preserve the amazing ancient animals and that's why I want to share with you these great emotions.
I want you to be part of the "journey" of the preservation of these animals. How can you support us? Easy!!! Here it is:
1. MOST IMPORTANT: REDUCE YOUR CONSUME OF DISPOSABLE PLASTIC!!!! EACH SMALL PIECE OF PLASTIC THAT ENDS UP TO THE SEA CAN KILL THEM!!! (plastic bags, straws, plastic glasses and so on)
2. (For Italians) if you find a Sea Turtles in danger on the beach call the Coast Guard (1530) and they should contact the Rescue Center of the area;
3. "Google is the way", have a look about the closest Rescue Center of the area where you live or where you go to the beach, save their contacts and, why not, discover and enjoy their volunteering programmes;
4. While you are enjoying the sea have a look on the sand because maybe you can see the tracks of these animals that, at night in summer, nest on the beach;
5. Discover your area: is it a possible nesting area for Sea Turtles? Maybe you can support monitoring and conservation activities!
6. Know the fish you buy! Check out if it comes from sustanaible way of fisheries.
7. Avoid not sustainable touristic exploitation of these animals (like tanks where you can swim with them)
8. Keep following me and us on the social network to be always update and inspired!!
During my work by the sea, studying and observing cetaceans, we rescue many Sea Turtles and, thanks to the collaboration with the WWF Policoro, we support the phase of rehabilitaion and release in freedom.
Why do I tell you this? Because I want to show you three pictures in order to give you a great example that I hope it can inspire you. Never lose hope and DREAM BIG. I strongly believe in the "theory of the universe" (even known as "law of attraction"). Remember what I said at the beginning... that everything started after that I watched the documentary "The Cove" of Richard O'Barry? So... here we are in action: rescuing a Sea Turtle on board with Carmelo Fanizza (founder of the JDC), preparing the Sea Turtle for the liberation (after some times of rehabilitation) with Gianluca Cirelli (coordinator of the Sea Turtles Programme of the WWF Policoro) and... THE RELEASE OF THE SEA TURTLE WITH THE GREAT RIC O'BARRY with Gianluca & Carmelo in the Gulf of Taranto.
I don't know why these ancient creatures are so charming. Maybe because they swim for thousand of miles "navigating" in all the Oceans, maybe because every year they go back to the same areas and females go back to the same beaches where they were born to nest, maybe because they are are able to conquer the heart of people and they are able to make everyone smile.
I really don't know. What I know, is that I want to dedicated my life to preserve them and their life in freedom in order to do my part to save the big blue. That' my journey. Join me! ;)