Sea Turtle Rescue Alliance: Rescuing Sea Turtles Around the World
To Connect and Empower the Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Community with the Latest Tools to Improve the Care and Welfare of Injured Sea Turtles Around the World.
In the worldwide effort to rescue injured sea turtles, there is a wide diversity of knowledge, experience and data being collected and utilised by passionate sea turtle veterinarians and conservationists every day. However, this valuable information is often not accessible between centres or regions, when access to that information might be the key to saving or improving the life of the sea turtle patient.
The Sea Turtle Rescue Alliance (STRA) recognises that the best way to protect sea turtles globally is for all those dedicated to sea turtle conservation are able to learn from the work of more experienced rescue centres elsewhere in the world. The core aim of this alliance is therefore to facilitate the collaboration of sea turtle rescue centres worldwide, so that centres can empower each other with the very best tools available for treating sea turtles.
STRA believes that this starts with the sharing of best practice clinical knowledge, techniques and data in order to refine and improve sea turtle health at “rescue and release” facilities worldwide. We aim to improve communication, foster connectivity and create an online platform for sharing up to date medical protocols for sea turtle medicine. It is our hope to bring together a community of passionate individual rescue centres to form a unified, well-equipped global conservation effort for these endangered, threatened and protected species.
The concept of STRA was first envisioned by Founder Dr Claire Petros when visiting a number of sea turtle rescue centres in 2017-18, following her work in the Maldives with the Olive Ridley Project. Each rescue centre had its own unique practices, husbandry protocols and varying medical facilities. Following those visitations, Claire met many sea turtle veterinarians and rehabilitators at the International Sea Turtle Symposium in Las Vegas and Charleston. It was during these conferences that discussions involving differing methods of veterinary surgical techniques and fascinating medical advances being utilised in rescue centres around the world, inspired the concept of unifying such a unique group of like-minded, passionate individuals to collaborate to improve the medical outcome of sea turtle patients. The idea was then discussed with fellow veterinarians Dr Max Polyak from Loggerhead Marinelife Centre, Florida and Dr Ale Ponzo from the Large Marine Vertebrate Research Institute, Philippines, both working with sea turtles in two different continents, who also supported the idea of collaboration between centres on a global scale. The concept was a simple one: connect rescue centres with each other to empower growth and learning, in order to improve medical treatment of sea turtles all over the world.
Early Growth and Funding
The project to date has been generously funded by OceanCare, a Swiss NGO committed to protecting the oceans and marine fauna holding Special Consultative Status on marine issues with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Dr Petros joined OceanCare in 2018 as a Sea Turtle Consultant, and after discussing her experiences visiting various sea turtle facilities and the need for a global network, OceanCare decided to support and mentor the formation of STRA. The initial funding allows for the development of a veterinary software system to be specialised for sea turtle rescue centres and implemented in chosen pilot centres, provides a Microsoft Teams platform for member rescue centres to access the online resource library, the creation of this website and STRA’s social media platforms.
Initial Expert Consultation Meetings
We will be holding Zoom meetings on the 10th and 12th February 2021 to better understand the needs and priorities of existing and upcoming facilities around the world and to best to serve the sea turtle medical community. If you are part of an existing rescue centre and would like to join one of these meetings, then please fill out the Contact Us form.