Sixteen sea turtles have so far been released back into their natural habitat after being treated at Turkey’s first ever sea turtle medical center, in the Mezitli district of the southern province of Mersin.
Sea turtles are treated as an endangered species at the center, which is located in the 100th Year Davultepe forest in the district. The center treats turtles that have been wounded in shark attacks in the sea, dog attacks on the shore during spawning periods, or after getting caught up in fishnets. They are looked after in giant water tanks until they are fully recovered.
Until today, 16 fully recovered sea turtles have been released back into their natural habitat.
The Forest and Water Affairs Ministry’s 7th District Mersin Division Director Ahmet Cortuk said the center has hosted 20 wounded sea turtles since opening in 2011.
“Our team works meticulously to treat these wounded sea turtles. So far, 16 fully recovered turtles have been released into the sea from the exact locations where they were found. Right now, there are four sea turtles under our observation and their treatment is continuing. We believe they will have fully recovered by mid-February and will be able to return to their natural habitat,” said Cortuk.
Mezitli Mayor Neset Tarhan said his municipality was preparing to hand out booklets explaining the urgent need to protect sea turtles and other live sea creatures, in cooperation with the Forest and Water Affairs Ministry, stressing that the protection of endangered sea turtles is of the utmost priority.